Notable Chicago personalities Billy Dec and Fabio Viviani stamp their foodie-centric brands on a pair of ambitious side projects.
Chef Fabio Viviani and restaurateur Billy Dec.
Side hustles aren’t new for celebrity chefs, but as barriers to media entry increasingly dissolve, local notables are stepping out of the kitchen to satisfy the content-hungry.
Recently, restaurateur and man about town Billy Dec debuted his foodie podcast, “The Meal of Your Life” (free on iTunes), holding one-on-one conversations with chefs, restaurateurs, and celebrities about their most memorable meals. His bestie David Schwimmer kicked off the series, identifying his childhood favorite as “the average meal at the family table.” Says Dec, “I think it’s an important time for people to gather, talk, understand, celebrate, and learn more about each other, different cultures [and] perspectives, life—all of which I hope this promotes.”
Meanwhile, Siena Tavern dynamo and Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani has doubled down on side projects, designing a lexicon of oozing cheeseburgers and decadent donuts in the seductive new Food Porn Emoji (also free on iTunes), and channeling his ineffable energy into a new YouTube show, “Fabio’s Kitchen.” In each weekly episode, Viviani creates a unique dish ranging from nonna’s meatballs to modern mac and cheese, many drawn from his new book, Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian. “When it comes to TV, you have to wait for a network to give you a show,” says Viviani. “I’m not in the business of waiting for business—I create my own!”