Bitchin Kitchen's Nadia G, the Punk-Rock Julia Child
We had the pleasure of meeting a very bitchin' gal last week. Nadia G had just arrived in town from Montreal for BlogHer Food, where she was speaking on a panel called Be Your Own Food Network. You might ask yourself, What does this girl know about television and new media? The answer: a hell of a lot.
Bitchin Kitchen/Facebook Nadia G's Bitchin Kitchen cooking show reecently debuted in the U.S.
This spunky Italian broad living in Canada has been the first to successfully transition from a Web series to prime time. She beat out Coco (aka Conan O'Brien) in an award for best mobile comedy series, wrote The Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook: Rock Your Kitchen and Let the Boys Clean Up the Mess (skirt!, 2009), has an online boutique, a show on Food Network Canada, and has just launched in American prime time with Bitchin Kitchen on the new Cooking Channel (channel 182 for Comcasters).
When we met Nadia she was wearing a leopard print vest and her signature bitchin ring. We began the conversation (she has the most interesting accent ever: grew up speaking Italian in a French city and went to English school) talking about style. She describes her style as rock and roll. She loves to make everything her own. Her recipe for life is food, comedy, and rock, and it's clear she combines them all on her show, not to mention her brand (um, hello, she has guitar spatulas).
After going off on a tangent about the New York Dolls, we discussed BlogHer Food and Nadia G's passion for new media and talking to women. She was also quite excited that Steamy Kitchen was going to be on her panel.
Within seconds of meeting Nadia G it was clear that the maple-glazed bacon apple doughnut from Dynamo Donuts was an essential stop on her visit to San Francisco. She took note of it on a napkin. We discussed food in Canada. What would surprise Americans most about Canadian cuisine? "How multicultural it is," Nadia G says. "There are a lot of first-generation immigrants in Canada, so you can get food that is very authentic.
Bitchin Kitchen just debuted in the U.S. Nadia says she's thrilled by the bigger audience, and the fact that Americans have such a great sense of humor. She thinks there's a good fit between her personality and the punk rock that originated in the States (see earlier discussion about New York Dolls). After getting her to admit that she likes NOFX, we realized that the music is really only a part of it for Nadia G: It's really more about breaking rules and conventions. Nadia says the kitchen is a place to laugh, take risks, and make a mess.
On her debut U.S. show she made sirloin shepherd's pie with yams, russets, and creamed corn, topped it with potato chips and served it with a rum and Cherry Coke. When forced to choose a Food Network star to share that meal with she said Alton Brown, since he was the first to have a scripted cooking show and has inspired her most. Although Nadia has a special place in heart for Batali, we get the feeling she'd rather eat his cooking than watch his show.
Two last questions for Nadia G:
SFoodie: On your show you explained that your grandma's ancient secret was to sniff your partner's armpits and if it didn't bother you then you were a good fit. Do you have a secret in the kitchen?
Nadia G: Aged balsamic ― a minimum of seven years old. It can be a replacement for citrus and it is good with everything ... even desserts. Chocolate and balsamic. Strawberries and balsamic. Maple syrup, a healthy replacement for sugar and it has that almost tart aftertaste. [Hmmm, balsamic and maple syrup, Italian and Canadian.... Nadia G, did you think we wouldn't be able to put those things together? Forgetaboutit.]
SFoodie: We all know that Rachael Ray has "Yum-O!" and Emeril has "Bam!" Do you have a catchphrase?
Nadia G: Yup, "tsaketa!" and I use it all the time, meaning "let's go." Tsaketa! (tsack-et-tah) "Now that we've got all our ingredients lined up, tsaketa! Let's get cooking."
Nadia G is like so totally bitchin' in the kitchen and beyond. If you didn't catch her at BlogHer Food, head to your TV, Internet, or cell phone. If there's new media, she'll find a way to reach you through it. She's not called the Julia Child of the Net generation for nothing.