Fabio Viviani, the Italian-born chef who won America's heart on Top Chef, is taking Miami by storm.
First, the talented toque opened Siena Tavern in South Beach. The restaurant, a sister of the original Siena Tavern in Chicago, serves Viviani's takes on classic Italian cuisine, with many dishes originating in his grandmother's kitchen back in Florence.
Now, the chef is making two appearances at Miami Book Fair International at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus this weekend. The chef will discuss his new book, Fabio's American Home Kitchen ($16.95). Released last month, the book explores Viviani's culinary adventures throughout the United States.
The chef says that the book is filled with traditional dishes from all over America, "with my own spin." Although he's known for his Italian cuisine, Viviani says he loves the various regional dishes that comprise his adopted country. "Pot pies, shrimp and grits, clam bakes. I love America, guys. Get over it. I'm Italian. You can't fix that. But I don't eat Italian every fucking day.
"Sure, I breathe Italian but if I'm in New Orleans I'll get a gumbo. In Washington state or Maine, I'll get a clam bake."
Viviani says his extensive travels for work promoted the book. "Whenever I travel, I meet people and I talk about food. I eat. It's what I do. So, every time I eat something I like, I take notes and I take pictures. I make comments on it, and I think, what can I do to make this better. Then I go to my restaurant and I work on the dish. That's how I wrote the book. It took me a year and a half to write it, but I collected the recipes over the past ten years."
Viviani, who also has a line of wines coming out soon, says that it's just natural to juggle his time between restaurants, appearances, and writing. "I'm a go getter. I admit, it's going to sound a little cocky, which I'm really not. But people like me because they see the American dream. A guy could come to this country not speaking English and make it happen for myself. America is all about how bad you want it and not how good you have it. If I can do it, trust me. Anyone can. I'm just a normal dude. I've got my bad days and my goods days."
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Fabio Viviani is maing two appearances at the Miami Book Fair International. On Saturday, November 22, at 11 a.m., the chef discusses his book, Fabio's American Home Kitchen, along with Ana Sofia Pelaez, who talks about her book, The Cuban Table. Admission to the talk is free with paid Book Fair admission.
On Sunday, November 23 at 2 p.m., Viviani will demonstrate some of his favorite Italian dishes at the Miami Culinary Institute. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at miamibookfair.com.