Jennifer Goldstein (writer),
Harry Fellows (photographer)
You’re flicking through the late-night television options in the haze of half sleep when you pause on the Cooking Channel because of the incongruity of what you’re hearing and what you’re seeing. From behind a kitchen counter on a cooking-show set that’s art-directed within a half inch of its life, a woman with the stage presence of Rachael Ray and the barely-legal beauty of Avril Lavigne circa 2002 gesticulates as if to say, “You talkin’ to me?” The camera cuts to her hands, which are caressing root vegetables as expertly as Martha Stewart while a voice that sounds like a Canadian (female) Tony Sirico narrates the particulars of a beef stew recipe. What is going on? Push the remote’s info button and you’ll discover you’ve entered Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen.
“People either love it or love to hate it,” Nadia G (for Giosia) says of her show, a comedy-slash-cooking-show spun off from the web series of the same name she began producing in 2009. The hate is usually for what Giosia calls her “loud mouth,” but the love is for the laughs (like a music video with lyrics dissing the Comic Sans font and a recurring skit with an Israeli spice agent), the rock ’n’ roll styling, and, of course, the cooking.
Giosia’s repertoire is heavy on comfort food and Italian favorites—stuff that’s as delicious now as it will be in 30 years, regardless of the cooking trend of the moment. “You know the whole nose-to-tail movement with all the chefs who want us to eat every part of the animal? They can go right ahead and eat gizzards so I don’t have to,” she laughs. “I’d much rather have some dirty buttermilk fried chicken or a nice plate of pasta fagioli loaded with pecorino.” Or, perhaps, fettuccine rosé topped with shrimp and sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano. “I made that dish one time and someone e-mailed me to say no real Italian would put cheese on seafood,” Giosia says. “I said, ‘Dear Sir, If you don’t want to use Parmesan, you can always use a delicate sprinkling of Go Fuck Yourself.’”
If she doesn’t fit in with the food snobs, so be it—she didn’t really fit into the conservative Italian Montreal neighborhood where she grew up either. “I got expelled and sent to the high school where you couldn’t have sharp objects,” she says. “The soccer mom, picket fence thing wasn’t for me. I was all about punk rock and rebellion.” And she has some leftover tattoos to prove it. “I call them my young and inebriated collection,” she says. “I also have a nil symbol on my wrist. When I got it, I was thinking it was badass, like, nothing, zero, nihilistic. I had this German boyfriend, and I was proud to show him, and he’s going, ‘Das is Underground.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! Totally underground!’ But he meant Underground, as in the subway in London. And he was right—so I now have the London subway logo permanently tattooed on my wrist.” But she’s happy with her artwork, including the four tattoos she designed herself. “They’re just a way to express myself, to tell the world: Listen here, you nerds, I’m different … just like everybody else.”
And with that, Giosia proves she’s in on the joke. So what if a few internet haters don’t like her loud voice—she’s laughing her way through her second book, Cookin’ for Trouble, which comes out this month, and on to the second season of her show, which is set to premiere later this fall. “I don’t take myself too seriously,” she says. “It’s probably why I love being in the kitchen. That’s where everything goes down, where the biggest laughs and the best celebrations happen.”