Nadia G has been stirring up trouble in the kitchen since 2007, when Bitchin’ Kitchen first appeared as a series of short webisodes. Jump ahead five years and Bitchin’ Kitchen is now in its second season as a half-hour show on the Cooking Channel (airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m.). Nadia’s accent is a recipe unto itself, part her Italian immigrant parents, part her Montreal upbringing, with a dash of dungeon mistress on top. Her recipes (stirred up in stilettos and baked in a cherry-red oven) stem from the classics but focus on making cooking fun, not stressful. Nadia G spoke to Creative Loafing from New York City about her mission to make cooking television “less vanilla.”
Creative Loafing: First off, what did you eat for lunch?
Nadia G: Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, fried tiger shrimp with a trio of sauces, and I tasted my friend’s kale salad with fresh pears, oh and cheesecake.
How did you start cooking?
I come from a family of amazing cooks, but they didn’t really teach me how to cook. They felt that they had been forced into cooking meals so the last thing they wanted me to do was be in the kitchen. I taught myself and made a bunch of messes.
What was the worst experiment?
The first time I made tomato sauce it was absolutely disgusting. I used a whole head of garlic and too much salt. But hey man, the funny thing is when you first taste horrible sauce it is a temperature thing. It’s so scalding hot you can’t taste how bad it is, but when it cools down … it’s not so good.
On the show, you seem like you’re having a lot of fun, whether it’s the word of the day (where Nadia explains an Italian slang word) or the music videos. Where do you get your inspiration?
I’ve always loved to express myself; I’ve always had my own strange perspective on things from a young age. I write about what I know, life experiences. We recently did an episode called “Hitched and Ditched,” all about when your girlfriend gets engaged and isn’t going out with you anymore. You get invited to boring coffee dates and you’re like, we used to drink four pitchers of beer! I find inspirations that way.So cooking doesn’t have to be too serious? Nah, it’s supposed to be fun, not intimidating. With Bitchin’ Kitchen, we are getting people tuned in that would never watch a cooking show. No one wants to be preached at in the kitchen or feel berated by a chef. Having fun is what it’s all about.
Sometimes it takes a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down?
Yeah, sometimes a spoonful of vinegar, too.
What is your advice to someone just starting to cook?
Don’t be afraid to make a mess or mess up a meal. You have to fall off a horse before you can make tartare out it.
What is the best tool for the kitchen?
Get a knife, a good chef’s knife. It is worth investing some money in. I’ve spent years cutting with a crappy serrated knife, so get a good knife, okay?
Any advice on cooking for the holidays?
Create a party that you’ll actually have fun at, don’t think about serving up a seven course meal. Think of creative ways to get you out of the kitchen. Think of foods that will taste good at room temperature. Think of ways to reduce stress levels. Make squash soup shooters, put them next to the DIY vodka bar.
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