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World Chefs: No-nonsense food with a pinch of punk

Aug 16, 2011, 2:19 a.m.

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nadia G. (Giosia), the edgy, stiletto-shod creator and star of the comedy-cooking cable TV show "Bitchin' Kitchen," knows you don't have to be a five-star chef to cook a great meal or a foodie to enjoy one.

From a Montreal kitchen decorated in candy colors, leopard skin and leather, the proudly home-schooled Giosia, a second-generation Italian-Canadian, dispenses her simple food and cheeky humor in equal measure.

Giosia, 31, spoke to Reuters about the upcoming release of her book, "Cookin' for Trouble," her core demographic of 25-to-30-year-olds, and how she feels about being labeled the Julia Child of the net generation.

Q: Why is your kitchen 'Bitchin'?"

A: "Bitchin is a term from the 50s that they used in California, meaning cool. If there's one thing 'Bitchin' Kitchen' is, it's cool."

Q: Your show mixes comedy and cooking. Which came first?

A: "I grew up in a food-obsessed Italian family, so food was always front and center in my life. I was a food obsessed person who morphed into a comedian and tried to figure out a way to make fun of my cake and eat it too."

Q: Where do your recipes come from?

A: "(They are) a mix of family recipes and tastes that have inspired me. The women in my family were fantastic cooks so I've definitely gotten a lot from them, and added my spin. Other recipes are inspired by my travels, or stuff I tasted at restaurants."

Q: How does your show fold humor into the cuisine?

A: "Each week we pick a theme, say recession recipes, and we have a couple of laughs as we cook a meal that goes with that theme. For example, the breakup brunch: you want to keep it light because you want that person out the door."

Q: What are the staples of your pantry?

A: "I always have a good quality extra virgin olive oil. A cheap quality oil will end up cheapening your dishes. And I love sweetening my dishes with maple syrup. It has a bit of a bitter kick at the end that works wonderfully in savory dishes. Also a good quality aged balsamic vinegar and of course I always have pasta."

Q: What's the message of your book and TV show?

A: "I believe that anyone can cook a great meal. Basically all you need to do is get your hands on some fresh ingredients and not be afraid to make a mess in the kitchen."

Q: You've been called the Julia Child of the net generation. Do you think the stiletto fits?

A: "It's a huge honor. I think it came about because Julia Child wasn't afraid to have fun. She made fantastic food but knew how to have a good time and not be too stuck up about the kitchen space."

Q: You've said "Bitchin' Kitchen" is not just a cooking show, but an attitude. What's the attitude?

A: "Fun, fearless, and not afraid to grab life by bra strap."

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