THE "YAY" SIDE
By Joseph Erdos
In the past few years, cooking maven and comedienne Nadia G. (Giosa) has risen from Internet sensation to TV cooking star with her cooking show "Bitchin' Kitchen." Her brand of cooking-comedy or comedy-cooking, if you will, has graced YouTube, Food Network Canada, and now Cooking Channel TV here in the States. This Quebecan beauty of Italian background has just released her second cookbook, "Cookin' for Trouble," a compilation of recipes based around the themes and moments in life, like "dysfunctional family pizza night," "student shkoff-fest," and "girls' night in" -- all similar to the episode themes of her cooking show (check out the promo here).
For Nadia G., the kitchen is not a brightly polished sterile showroom like many TV cooking shows would like us to believe. In her words: "In my family, the kitchen was where it all went down. It's where we laughed, confessed, brawled, celebrated, and mourned. We practically lived in the kitchen, and that's definitely where we came alive." And this is exactly what Nadia, her TV show, and her new cookbook are all about. It's real with doses of kitsch and comedy thrown in for good measure -- it's Nadia's world.
Even if Nadia's schtick may seem a little forced or fake (her accent, though, seems to be real from what we've seen in interviews), she is definitely not your bobble-headed TV cooking show host. Her offbeat humor, crass-sounding language (she has her own A Clockwork Orange-like vocabulary), and sultriness make her especially appealing to a male audience -- no wonder the show is in the prime time slot. (She struts her stuff in 3-inch heels and wields a chef's knife at the same time -- what more could a man ask for?) But her appeal also reaches women, mothers, daughters, and children as her online community shows. Nadia G. brings together the whole family and she proves you don't have to be a plain Jane, a bubbly ditz, a Michelin chef, a kitchen diva, or a food snob to enjoy a "Bitchin' meal." Nadia G. embraces everyone! Just see her "community chapter" with recipes submitted by her fans.
Personality aside, this book is filled with great, appealing and drool-worthy recipes -- 75 in all. Nadia G. is passionate about food and it shows. The funny anecdotes and comments from her gang of characters add a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, turning this cookbook into a fireside read -- with a bedtime hot toddy in hand.
Recipes I'd most want to try: Chana Dhansak, Turkey Cassoulet with Butter Beans, and Mille-Feuille in a Whiskey Glass.
Overall rating: (1-5): 4.5. This cookbook is fun, food-friendly, and sexy!
THE "NAY" SIDE
By Jessica Adamiak
Listen up, cookbook industry: I'm on to your formula. One collection of unremarkable recipes + any 'ol celebrity or food personality = revenue for you!
Enter Nadia G, host of the Cooking Channel's "Bitchin' Kitchen." A Canadian import who launched a successful web show before transitioning to TV, Nadia's website bio declares she is "young, funny and can cook up a storm in three-inch cherry stiletto heels." But that doesn't do her persona justice. To grasp Nadia's schtick, you have to watch a short clip of her show's sizzle reel before this review goes any further. Go ahead; I'll wait.
Full disclosure: from the inexplicable accent to the Pee-Wee Herman-like decor, I don't get Nadia's appeal. Her show's presentation makes me feel like I'm watching a children's program produced by Kat Von D. But I must be missing something, because millions of people watch Bitchin' Kitchen of their own volition. So onward with the review!
Let's start with Cookin' for Trouble's cover, which features Nadia making a "come hither" gesture while sporting a bustier made out of uncooked pasta. (Does it remind anybody else of that rose petal scene in American Beauty?) This isn't her only outrageous outfit in the book: other photos feature Nadia clad in a black body suit ala Catwoman and a groom get-up -- which she wears as she makes out with a cheeseburger in a wedding veil. (Yes.)
But while the images of Nadia are over-the-top, the food photos are fantastic. I ended up wanting to try a lot of her recipes, not because they're particularly original, but because the pictures made them look absolutely nom-worthy.
A few more highlights ...
Most Random Quote: "That's right, America! In this chapter we're gonna pummel your muffin top, throttle your beer gut, and bite you right in the cankle."
Number Of Prostitution Jokes: 1
Number of References to Christian Bale's Hotness: At least 3
Cognitive Dissonance Award: In chapter 4, "Bitchin Booty Camp Extreme," Nadia extols the virtues of healthy eating. Chapter 13 is called "Gluttony G-Style."
Recipes I'd Most Want to Make: All-Dressed G-Style Pizza, Dirty Carbonara, Vegan Dark Chocolate And Caramelized Banana Pie
Overall rating: (1-5): 2.5. If a cookbook offers decent recipes and photos, it deserves some credit. But there's nothing special about said recipes, and Nadia's character is tiresome.
What do you think of Nadia G? Let us know in the comments below!