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Bravotv.com: What did you think when you saw the montage of you and Stefan together? How often do you guys really see each other?
I was laughing so hard. It was brillinat. In Europe people are not "cold" in friendship like here — we hug, we kiss (on the forehead ) and we stay together, so it is normal for us. Stefan is a good guy.
Lately, i've been crazy busy with the business. I am getting tons of requests for licensing my image to some big company. So far I got Ducati, the company that produces all Italian motorbikes, I will launch as a spokeperson for Dr. Oetker, a new line of frozen high quality pizza all over United States. I also got a huge deal with Pellegrino water, and Gail Simmons from Food & Wine. I will be with her launching the national campaign "The Sparkling Life," plus I'm dealing also with Red Bull and Don Q Rum, and on top of this I've been requested to do all kinds of talk shows. It's overwelming the love and interest that I'm getting from everybody. I've done Ellen DeGegeneres and The Bonnie Hunt Show so far, and I have several more in line waiting, plus we are also thinking to do a possible TV show with me involved (just thinking). Without counting that I'm opening two more restaurants in the Ventura County area in the summer and I'm starting a 14-city book tour in all the major book stores around the United States in April and May for my Cafe Firenze Cookbook, and I'm working on my second book. My son is on Google: Recipes and Memories from an Italian Mom. I'm doing this with the help of my mom of course. She will tell America all the funny and sad stories and recipes that made her happy or cry since the day that I was born, so as you can see I don't have much time left to hang out with my buddy Stefan and I miss him a lot!!!! Ohhhh I forgot, I'm also almost ready to launch my Web site www.kidshealthcafe.com, in order to promote good nutrition and wellness for kids.
Bravotv.com: Who did you think would win Fan Favorite?
I voted 20 times for Carla. She is hilarious and she is also a great chef, and she did deserve to win Fan Favorite as much as i did.Bravotv.com: What went through your mind when Andy announced you as fan fave?
Like I said, it's overwelming the love and affection that I'm receiving from the people in this country. In the week after I got kicked out from the show I received over 2 million e-mails. Now you have an idea of how many two million e-mails are? Well I did not and all the computer servers at my restaurant went down and we had to update all of them with a new Internet provider, and when Andy said my name I was thinking, "Here we go again. Tomorrow I will receive 5 million of them. It's a great feeling knowing that people out there truly like you for the way you are, and I work with people everyday and this is an honor for me.
Bravotv.com: What are you going to do with the money? Have you started planning fixes to the restaurant?
I will just use them in the restaurant. We are going trought lots of expenses and we really need them.
Bravotv.com: What is the reception like in your restaurant? Whenever you walk somewhere?
People are going crazy. I have a one-hour line on a Tuesday night to get in the restaurant if you don't have a reservation. I was in New York last week for businness and I was walking and one of the guys that delivers the mail with a bike hit a car because he was yelling my name and trying to wave at me. I felt horrible — poor guy.
I never say no to anybody. I'm like a whore, but I don't get paid for it. If you want to talk to me or have a picture with me for me it's an honor so I will never say no, and I'm very thankfull for all that is happening. It seems like people are truly happy to see me and it's a good feeling.
Bravotv.com: What does your wife think about the whole thing?
Again, it's overwelming, for everybody, even for me. It's not easy when everybody wants the attention of your husband, but she undestands; she is strong. It's for the sake of my whole family and businness, so it required an undestanding from everyone. She is fine with it.
Bravotv.com: Do you have any regrets from the whole season?
Yes, one. You guys did not show the story of Danny Gagnon and the Blowdoll for Christmas.. You have to give me those five minutes on DVD. That was the funniest thing that I ever heard in my life and you did not showed it. Dirty People.