She has rapidly become Canada’s culinary Queen of Hearts as the host of Bitchin’ Kitchen on Food Network Canada, but Nadia Giosia was “bitchin’” long before her small-screen debut.
For that matter, while she is the host of a TV cooking show, Giosia, a.k.a. Nadia G, has never actually set foot in a commercial kitchen. The Montrealer instead rose to popularity after creating a series of internet videos that featured her own brand of punk-rock comedy/culinary demos that attracted the attention of the Food Network.
Now, Giosia and her three “correspondents” – Panos, Hans and the Spice Agent – are becoming household names not only in Canada but also in the U.S. after the show was picked up by the Cooking Channel last fall.
Her show breaks all of the normal conventions of a traditional cooking show with its punk-rock music, comedic breaks by her correspondents, meals for breakups, hangovers and impressing the in-laws, while Giosia cooks wearing three-inch stiletto heels and outfits straight out of a trendy nightclub.
Not only does her glammed-up tough-girl attitude chime with younger viewers, Giosia is making believers out of non-believers, even the ones who wonder why she isn’t wearing a prissy cardigan to teach them how to make duck a l’orange.
“What happens a lot with people who are shocked by the change in the cooking show format is that they eventually come around and become converts because they then understand what to expect from the show and get over that initial confusion in regards to what their preconception of a cooking show was,” said Giosia.
While Giosia and her crew at Bitchin’ Kitchen (BK) will only find out in the coming weeks as to whether she will be signed on for a second season, the team is already hard at work looking at what other themes can be explored on the show.
Though she isn’t looking to do a soup-to-serve-your-partner-with-divorce-papers episode, Giosia said we can expect lots more relationship politics in season two. She is toying with the idea of exploring a family night episode but BK style so it would be more like dysfunctional family pizza night.
At the same time, Giosia recognizes that with great television power comes great television responsibility. She knows she’s a role model for a lot of aspiring entertainers/ budding foodies/ fashionista and sees young women emulating her and her style as a beautiful thing.
“I am really honoured with that aspect, seeing the young girls grabbing life by the bra strap, if you will. I am happy to do it too because at the end of the day a woman can be strong and funny and cook up a good meal when she feels like it and Bitchin’ Kitchen embodies that fierce female attitude,” said Giosia.
Of course, the flip side of this is the kind of attention that Giosia gets from total strangers on the internet, particularly when strange men send her videos of themselves or post them online.
“We have this one fan video on our Facebook about a guy who bought a gold rosary for me and wanted to deliver it to me,” said Giosia.
Moving onto the decadent day of love, Giosia said a Valentine’s Day menu should be planned around how long a couple has been together as most people tend to do the exact opposite of what she would normally do.
“If they have a brand-new partner, he or she is going to pull out all of the stops and create this seven- or eight-course dinner or take you out for one. In fact, when you have a new partner, you can take it easy and not seem so desperate by pulling out this kind of extravagant meal, you would probably want to do something a bit more chill like a Shepherd’s Pie or burgers, home made of course,” she said.
In her opinion, the couples that have been together forever should spice things up with every Valentine’s Day bell and whistle, including the eight-course meal or the night out.
A Valentine’s Day meal that would please Giosia’s palate would act more like an anti-meal and feature a series of servings of tiny bites that she said “would be totally nasty on a caloric basis.” She mentioned milk chocolate nougat fondue alongside salty potato chips, fruit bites and biscotti, and then perhaps some foie gras served up with a strawberry balsamic salsa and tons of cheeses.
Whereas a smorgasbord featuring the aforementioned would make her heart sing, despite the culinary myths, Giosia said she also doesn’t believe in aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day.
“Food can accomplish a lot of things. Getting you some action is not necessarily one of them. I think that depends a lot on what the relationship is like prior (to dinner) too,” said Giossi
Keeping with the idea of using local produce, Giosia said her BK Valentine’s Day suggestion would include the canned tomatoes and preserves that so many Quebecers put away for the harsh winter months. For a main dish she suggested making a penne pie.
“You could cook up a Bolognese (tomato meat) sauce but instead of using ground beef, go for some caribou or whatever game meat you have available. Then you cook that up with some onions and garlic, the canned tomatoes and a good quality olive oil. Then boil some penne and put that in an oven dish and do a layer of penne, sauce, and some mozzarella cheese, then some more penne, sauce and lots of cheese on top. You bake that in the oven for about 45 minutes until the cheese is all melted and you’ve got some crispy edges,” explained the culinary diva.
For those looking to fancy it up, Giosia suggested a fresh baby spinach and candied pecan salad, drizzled with a tangy blueberry preserve and aged balsamic dressing be served as an appetizer and her signature meaty dessert to seal the deal that involves candied bacon (see recipe). After all, who wouldn’t be blown away by a MacIntosh maple crumble with candied bacon?
As for what not to serve, Giosia said there are no “bad foods” for Valentine’s Day but that quantity can sabotage the date.
“Everything is good in moderation. You can have a delicious creamy pasta as a main course, but if you over do it and eat three helpings of it you certainly won’t be in the mood for love, you’ll be in the mood to fall asleep afterwards. A decent portion size is always a good strategy to go with, especially if you want to keep the party going all night,” said Giosia.
Season one of Bitchin’ Kitchen is currently airing on Food Network Canada on Thursday nights at various times. For more info: www.foodnetwork.ca
To find out more about Nadia G, the Bitchin’ Kitchen crew or order Bitchin’ Kitchen products, go to: www.bitchinlifestyle.tv
MacIntosh Maple Crumble with Candied Bacon
• 5-6 thick bacon strips
• Raw sugar to coat
• pinch smoked cayenne
• 6 MacIntosh apples, peeled and cubed
• 1/4 cup maple liqueur
• or 1/4 cup maple syrup
• Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
• pinch nutmeg
• pinch sea salt
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2. Line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper. Lay the bacon strips on a wire rack and coat evenly with raw sugar. Lightly press the sugar into the bacon, sprinkle them with smoked cayenne and transfer them to the lined baking sheet.
3. Checking on the bacon frequently, cook for about 12 minutes or until caramelized.
4. Using tongs, carefully place the cooked bacon strips on a wire rack to cool and harden before serving.
1. In a baking dish, combine apples, maple liqueur, vanilla bean seeds, nutmeg and sea salt. Mix ingredients together.
1. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a big bowl, add the flour, rolled oats, crushed walnuts and brown sugar. Mix these ingredients together then using pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter bits.
3. Evenly distribute the crumble over the apple mixture and bake for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Shkiaffing (Nadia speak for ‘putting’) it together
1. Cut the crumble into slices. Top each slice with a piece of candied bacon and serve with a shot of cinnamon schnapps.