Cocky.  Passionate.  Brilliant.
My analysis in three words.

Where do I start.  I don’t think I have enjoyed having a teacher as much as Vivertito.  I mean my first and forever favorite teacher was Christopher Balzano.  He shared many of the same traits as Chef and I think that is what makes him my favorite.  It might just be the Italian heritage.  So I guess each time I say my favorite teacher so far I mean my favorite teacher at CIA so far.  I also want to say that Chef DiPerri means a lot to me.  He was my fundamentals teacher and I think that just like everyone else in class, I became somewhat attached.The first day of fabrication Chef came into class with no hat.  This was my first observation.  His hair isn’t short either, in fact I am fairly certain he should be wearing a hat, but you could tell he didn’t care.  We began the ID and Fabrication portion of class and I was astounded at the amount of knowledge we were getting bombarded with.  He knew everything, activity levels, habitat, identifying features of fish.  He should, he is teaching the class.  I guess it was more of a shock value thing.  I was really blown away by everything that came out of his mouth.

What happened next was what really sealed the deal.  As we were beginning to review different fish he began to ask us questions.  Simple things like “What is the activity level of the salmon/trout family?”  Or “What is the identifying feature of the Bass/Snapper/Grouper family?”  And to his dismay none of us could actually answer any of his questions.  He started off by getting upset.  He didn’t yell though,  “Why don’t you know any of this information, you had a three day weekend to study?”  No one knew anything and it got to the point, about halfway into ID that he stopped and he said, “Well I guess i’ll just wait until you say something.”  No one knew the answer so we just sat there in silence for about 5 minutes.  He didn’t even give us the answer, he just skipped it and continued on.  He knew that our class was unfamiliar with the material and he was rightfully disappointed.  It showed.  He continued to ridicule us for the rest of class and he didn’t hesitate from using colorful language.  He is the only chef that I have heard drop the f-bomb more than 10 times, but “shit” is definitely his favorite word.  Cocky.

I had been told by many people who had taken his class how much loved fish.  I didn’t realize that his love for fish was deeper than any ocean.  His eyes light up each time he goes through lecture.  He does remind that he has said the same thing over 300 times, but what shows better dedication.  He has done it this long and still loves it.  That really says something to me.  I have been given so many fish facts that I don’t have place to write them all down.  Here are some:  91% of all seafood in the US is imported.  67% of fish is consumed in restaurants.  It is extremely difficult to get mercury poisoning from fish.  Fish is the last wild/non-domesticated protein we can consume.  Hanging certain fish by the tails can actually destroy the flesh.  The list is never ending.  This material isn’t stuff we learn in the book.  These are things he has researched, learned and embraced.  If you asked why he tells us these things he would say, because I love fish and I want you to love fish too.  Passionate.

Lastly, actually meeting and listening to Chef is amazing.  He really has brilliant ideas and knows just about everything there is about fish.  I guess this last trait is really a combination of the first two.  It was early on in lecture that Chef talked about the three animated movies that far better explained AL Gore’s Inconvenient truth.  Chef told us that some of his favorite movies were animated: Wall-E, Happy Feet and Finding Nemo.  Now of course to me I was shocked.  How did these even relate and why did they have such a profound impact on Chef? Think about what Al Gore talked about.  Rising temperatures, human effects on the planet.  In Wall-E, Pixar highlighted the importance of sustainability.  In Happy Feet, we were informed about over-fishing and the effects of litter.  And in Finding Nemo we were taught that all drains lead to the ocean.  Chef lives by these movies and the fact that someone his age and knowledge places so much value on them, really showed me what his character looks like.  One of my favorite quotes so far is about horse racing.  We talked briefly about how people enjoy horse racing but still refuse to eat horse.  We raise cows to slaughter what is the difference between the two.  His response:

Love em’ all or eat em’ all.
-Chef Viverto

I have recently started recording lectures because of how many nuggets he tosses out.  I don’t even know if he does them on purpose or if their just spur of the moment.  But he has never said something I didn’t enjoy.  BrilliantChef has had and will continue to have a lasting impact on me.  I hope to have free time to be able to sit into his lectures in the future.  Something I still have to ask him about.  He has made fish enjoyable but I have also learned so much.  I am very upset that Fish ID is coming to such an abrupt end.  But I am just as excited to be moving on