This week at Top Chef Kitchen by Bravo in New York City, Top Chef alums Antonia Lofaso and Fabio Viviani are the featured chefs at the one-of-a-kind, four-course dining experience from Bravo’s Emmy®- and James Beard Award-winning television series, Top Chef. Viviani has two restaurants in Los Angeles, is opening a new restaurant in Chicago, and is scouting a location for another in Miami. When he’s not in one of his restaurants, he is filming his show Chow Ciao! on Yahoo! Lofaso owns Black Market in Studio City, California, and is opening a second as-yet-unnamed restaurant in March 2013 (although Viviani claims they do know the name and it is one he suggested). We caught up with them pre-service in Top Chef Kitchen, as Chef Lofaso was making ravioli for the evening’s dinner.
Were you intimidated to cook for New York foodies?
FV: I’ve done a lot of private parties in New York, but I never cooked for a restaurant. I got kicked off Top Chef twice in New York, both seasons, so New York doesn’t faze me anymore.
Fabio, what was it like working with Antonia?
FV: We were on a season of Top Chef together, so I know she can be very difficult at times.
AL: That’s when I turn my head [away from him].
FV: I love her to pieces.
Were you excited to work with someone you were a little familiar with?
AL: With Fabio? For this? Yes! So many times when we do these events, it can feel like we’re being more competitive *after* the actual competition versus during. After [Top Chef], it’s more like, ‘Oh my god! What is everyone doing? Is my food better?’ Fabio is just so easy. Not easy in a sleeps-with-a-lot-of-women sort of a way.
AL: I called you easy. [Pause] Actually, he may be easy in both senses of the word.
FV: I’m easy — easy to please.
AL: Yes, that’s for sure. He’s just sweet, and he’s all about good food, There’s no ‘I’m so much better than you’ air.
FV: It’s not about bragging rights. It’s about having fun! And making good food today! Even though my food is better.
You have created separate Top Chef Kitchen menus, but diners can mix and match. Was there a discussion ahead of time about how they would meld?