Nadia G. Talks Anthony Bourdain, Tattoos and Growing Up Italian [INTERVIEW]
Who says a bitchin’ attitude doesn’t belong in the kitchen? Not Nadia G.
Nadia G. is the host of Food Network Canada’s and Cooking Channel’s comedy-cooking show, “Bitchin’ Kitchen.” Every week she comes up with a themed menu based on life situations, such as “Impress the In-Laws,” highlighted by a filet mignon with a maple balsamic reduction served with cherry tomatoes and Parmesan potato croquettes.
Nadia G. was born in Montreal, Quebec. She’s of Italian descent, which has a strong influence on her cooking style. Both of her parents immigrated from Italy to Quebec in the 1950s.
Before she became a TV personality, she did skit comedy. In 2007, “Bitchin’ Kitchen” caught the eye of mainstream broadcast media when it debuted as three minute mobile shows and was a huge success.
Since the show’s television debut in 2010, Nadia G. has built the reputation of being a great Italian cook in stiletto heels and animal print dresses who will make you laugh your ass off.
Tune in on Cooking Channel every Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST and Saturdays at 11 p.m. EST to get a taste of what bitchin’ really means.
What inspired you to start cooking?
I’ve always been food obsessed, and I guess if anyone loves food as much as I do, eventually you’re going to have to learn how to cook it. I grew up in a family of amazing cooks: my mom, my aunts, my grandmas. These ladies were super fierce in the kitchen and hilarious as well. So cooking has always been something I’ve held very near and dear to my heart and my love handles.
Why is food important to you?
Well, one, I can’t live without it, literally. And secondly, food is basically what brings our friends, family and thighs closer together. Yes, it is about the food itself, but more importantly, it’s about the relationships that surround food, the reasons why we eat certain foods. There’s a lot going on besides just that plate of pasta. It’s the situation that surrounds the pasta, which is just as tasty.
Who taught you how to cook?
Growing up in an Italian family we didn’t have any written recipes, so often when I asked my mother how much salt goes into the pasta water, she’d just get annoyed and be like, “You look, you feel, you taste.” So after a lot of trial and error, I eventually got the hang of it. That’s what it’s all about. Just not being afraid to get your hands dirty and make a couple of mistakes, because, eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.
How’d you come up with the concept of Bitchin’ Kitchen?
I love comedy. I spent a couple of years in my early twenties doing skit comedy and one day thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be awesome for me to do the comedy and still get my hands on a plate of pasta fazul?” And I came up with the concept of Bitchin’ Kitchen, which basically is a thematic comedy cooking show where we have a meal for every occasion, whether it’s break-up brunches, dysfunctional family pizza night, rehab recipes. We talk about the life that surrounds food and stuff a good meal with it.
Who is your chef crush if you had to pick one?
A chef crush? I would say Anthony Bourdain.
Well, he’s got a pretty bitchin’, punk rock attitude, and I dig that in people. I dig that attitude in culinary entertainment.
When did you get your first tattoo?
Yeah, legal age is just a suggestion in Canada. Not 13, 14.
What’s the tattoo of?
It’s just some abstract, cheesy tribal circle that’s on my left hand wrist. I think I was just feeling rebellious, and often tattoos are a way of expressing that feeling. When you’re that young, I give myself a pass on the design. It was just the feeling of rebelling against the whole conservative mentality I grew up with.
When you say conservative do you mean just your family or the area you were living in?
The area I was living in and my family as well. They weren’t as conservative as other families [that] locked up their daughters until they were 18. Immigrants, Italian culture can be a little sexist, a little closed minded, very…what’s a good word…just kind of stick with each other. For me it wasn’t about the picket fence and getting married and having two children. I wanted to be a rock star, so that didn’t really mesh with the neighborhood I was living in and the mentality of that neighborhood. Rebelling against it taught me a lot. In my twenties, doing the comedy enabled me to look back on my Italian roots and see it with a fresh perspective, it helped me appreciate the culture I come from.
What’s your favorite tattoo you have?
I would say the ones I designed myself are the ones I love the most. I have one on my foot that I’m a big fan of, looks great with heels. The one on my forearm is really cool to me. Those two are my favorites. Oh, and the band around the ankle that matches the armband. I have three [tattoos]. All of them I designed myself.
If you weren’t hosting the show right now, what do you think you’d be doing?
I love to sing, and I love rock-n-roll. It would probably be a combination of those two. I’d still be eating though, and I’d still be cooking.
If you were a food what would you be?
Hmm, that’s a good question. I never really thought of myself as food. I’d be strawberries in balsamic vinegar.
Why would you be that?
Because it’s sweet with just enough vinegar to kick you.
Who are some of your culinary role models?
The women in my family.
If you had to eat the same dish every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
When that questions comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is the dirtiest, most amazing dish that you love so much like fried chicken drenched in maple syrup. But one would probably get really sick of eating something that rich every single day for the rest of their lives. So I’m going to have to go with some kind of pasta primavera, so I can at least stay alive. So there would be some prosciutto in there with some asparagus, greens, fresh cherry tomatoes. Tasty, yet healthy enough to keep me around for a while.
What advice would you give to aspiring chefs and foodies?
I would say, very often, people always give the cliché response of, “Follow your dreams and they can come true.” And it is true, just make sure you read the fine print that you got to work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, 10 years to get there. The fine print.
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