Nadia G. of Bitchin' Kitchen: Thanksgiving Tips, Her Sassy TV Show, and The True Meaning of Being Bitchin'
It was past dusk this last Thursday, and Wynwood's Awarehouse was lit up in shades of scarlet. A line had formed outside, and the crowd was trickling into the expansive building. They creeped into the warehouse, anxious for a glimpse of Nadia Giosia, the host of Cooking Channel's Bitchin' Kitchen.
The event, called "A Bitchin' Evening", celebrated Giosia's partnership with Apothic Wines -- the popular brand of blended wine that features two offerings, red or white. Nadia G. (as she is known) had prepared recipes to pair with these libations. The stage was set-up like a kitchen. It displayed a food processor, and bowls of butter and raw sugar.
The warehouse filled up quickly with people. Suddenly, Giosia dashed onto the platform. Wearing a teeny striped red and white dress, the 32-year-old walked across the stage. Her legs were toned, lengthened by fierce scarlet four-inch heels. The spotlight illuminated her many tattoos. The ink on her forearm spelled the word hungry in large cursive letters.
"We're going to get this party started, alright?" she asked rhetorically. The attractive TV host spoke in her signature lilting accent -- part Italian, part Quebecois, part English. "I'm going to say, 'go', and ya'all are going to say, 'nads'. Together, we are going to say, 'gonads'!"
The crowd responded in unison, murmuring with laughter. They obediently shouted the syllable. With that, Nadia G. had captured every spectator's attention. Her segment was half comedy skit, half cooking show, and it was a resounding hit.
Earlier that day, I met with Giosia to chat about the new season of her cooking show. The program is number one on the Cooking Channel, and each episode is abundant with sassiness, punchlines and bold outrageousness.
Her blonde hair was pulled back in a tight bun, revealing a segment of locks trimmed nearly to the length of her scalp. Her Starbucks cup was marked by bright red lipstick. She wore brass knuckles. They were adorned with the word, "Bitchin'".
But Giosia wasn't loud, brash or, even, a badass -- at least not in the conventional use of the term. Her tone was quiet and kind. Her one-on-one personality contrasted with what she projects on stage and on screen.
"It's a scripted show, so I do take the time to write it all out," she explained, responding to my question about her on-screen persona. "It's my Bitchin' Kitchen stage, but it is a part of me. After all, you can only write what you know."
Apart from the on-air snide remarks and comedic skits, what Giosia truly knows is how to grab her viewers' attention. Bitchin' Kitchen started as an online cooking show. With its priority on developing a sense of community and interactive fan-base, the show garnered enough attention and was picked up by the Cooking Channel.
"It's because of social and our community that we have a show. At the beginning, people thought there was too much cooking for a comedy show and too much comedy for a cooking show," she said. "But a lot of people were looking for a cooking show that wasn't so vanilla."
Her recipes aren't vanilla, either. They range from camembert feuilletée to spicy tom yam zuppe di pesce. And, although these offerings suggest otherwise, Giosia is actually a self-taught cook.
"Being a self-taught cook plays a big part in my show," she said. "If I can do it, everyone can do it. It's just important to make cooking fun and exciting. People tune in that have never cooked a dish in their life."
They also tune in because every episode is based on a funny theme, like "Hitched & Ditched", featuring Philly cheese steak with smoked gruyere sauce and pear and almond tartlet tartin.
It's what makes her cooking so approachable. "Don't be intimidated. It isn't rocket surgery," she said, following by correcting herself with a quick joke. "Which is not to be confused with rocket science, of course."
Her advice for Thanksgiving was also approachable. Her tips are to keep the menu uncomplicated and modern. "I'm a massive fan of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but who really feels like cooking it? Now people would like to spend time partying, not spending two days cooking."
Off the top of her head, she recommended: Pancetta chesnut stuffing, butternut squash soup shooters, and turkey sliders with chipotle cranberry sauce.
Giosia is also serious when it comes to ingredients. While other TV hosts are unwrapping store-bought angel food cakes, topping them with Cool Whip and calling that dessert, Giosia preaches about raw sugar, organic meats and organic produce. She even encourages fans to eat less meat.
"If you cut down on the quantities of the meat that you eat, then you can focus on the quality," she said. "It's always nice to eat something that's hormone-free, and I'm trying to inspire people to find out where their ingredients are from."
After our conversation, Giosia asked for restaurant suggestions, since she was in Miami for another day. She cracked a joke about a recent meal at the Delano in Miami Beach, and how much she loved their $18 hummus. She mentioned how much she did love an octopus dish at Cecconi's. She also already had dinner plans at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.
"I'll eat anything. Well, anything except gizzards," she said, with a half smile.
As we stood up to say goodbye, Giosia put on a pair of retro cat-eyed, silver sunglasses, and smoothed out her distressed jeans. She opened up her arms and pulled me in for a big hug.
On-screen, Nadia G. is the conventional definition of bitchin'. She's sassy, bold, and she cooks with a whole lot of attitude. But, in real life, and one-on-one, Nadia Giosia is sweet, well-spoken and extremely knowledgeable about cooking and food. And, without the scripted jokes, cheeky punchlines, and bright spotlights, it's easy to like this Nadia even more.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.
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