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Nadia G. stirs it up in the kitchen
TELEVISION Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Sarah Toce

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She rocks a bitchin' risotto while visions of decapitated dolls dance in her head. The Cooking Channel's Nadia G. (full name: Nadia Giosia) is an unapologetic tough Italian cookie from Montreal, Quebec and her unique approach to comedy in the kitchen has tongues wagging…for a second helping.

The 31-year-old comical foodie writes, produces and stars in her own culinary vehicle and she's smokin' hot ... at the same time. Arguably, the coupling of these two theories has never been embraced quite in this way before—something that sets her strategically apart from the rest.

At first, the network wasn't too keen on the "Bitchin'" concept.

"It was kind of a hard sell because the network thought it was too edgy. They kept asking us if we had a reality show in mind instead, but we told them that the reality show would basically be us sitting in front of our computer screens in our pajamas all day," she said.

Eventually, the show transitioned from a mobile episodic to primetime television—perhaps due to the one thing that initially threatened the networks most: its individuality.

Nadia told me: "We are breaking down stereotypes with this show because we are proving that women do not have to be wearing pastel to be in the kitchen and that you can be a strong woman with an attitude and still be a great cook."

Adding, "I didn't want to have a cooking show that was vanilla and boring. I didn't go to a cooking school so the recipes I present on the show are ones that anyone could do."

If her recipes are any indication, she's absolutely anything but an ordinary chef. A few of her noteworthy dishes include: baked mac 'n cheese with caramelized onions and duck sausage; mocha served with chiacchere; potato pizza; egg white with caramelized onions and homemade fig jam sandwich with salad and maple balsamic dressing; and crispy tuna-cake sliders with citrus slaw.

When I asked what inspires her one-of-a-kind food flair she shared, "I'll be eating in a restaurant on the road and get inspired to create something by switching out the risotto for pappardelle, for example. It's all about having fun in the kitchen and really trying new things involving traditional dishes."

Imagine, if you will: Julia Child mixed with Carol Burnett and a dollop of Pat Benatar. There you have it: Nadia G.

"I think the reason people compare me to Julia Child is because of our no nonsense and strong-willed attitude in the kitchen," she told me.

For Nadia G., the concept is simple: "It's about the stories and the food that gets you to the table. You don't have to look far to taste some of the best food the world has to offer. I'd pit my grandmother against a 3-star Michelin chef any day."

As for the rock vibe she exhibits throughout each 30-minute episode, we wondered if she had a band or any real musical inclination outside of the TV set. "I don't necessarily have a specific band that I play with because I really like to team up with different people and write music. There is a song that I co-wrote with a friend in Montreal that will hopefully be included in one of the last episodes this season as a music video."

One would be remiss to leave out the other cast members complimenting Nadia G. in the kitchen.

"We cast for the show a long time ago when we were working on the three-minute mobile show and my ideas went right out the window when I met these guys," Nadia said. "Panos' family actually owns a fish shop in Montreal and that really is his wife on the show with him. You can even get a glimpse of his son covering his ears when he sings in the Christmas video."

Joining Panos the Fish Guy are The Spice Agent and Hans—all equally…unique … in their own out-of-this-world ways.

Perhaps she summed up the entire interview best when she told me very plainly: "Your kitchen has to be a reflection of you and mine just so happens to have decapitated dolls and fake fur."

And that, Nadia G., is why we love you.

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