It’s safe to say you won’t find a more distracting kitchen set in all of cooking televisiondom than the splattered cabinets, wild animal prints and shirtless co-conspirators of “Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen,” on the Cooking Channel.
The star’s fairly distracting herself: Nadia Giosia (gee-oh-SEE-uh) is a 32-year-old, big-as-a-minute, self-described workout fanatic with lipstick biker chic and scary-high heels. The goal of all the shtick, she says, is for people to not be intimated in the kitchen.
With a native Montreal patois that comes across more like the Brooklynese of “Welcome Back, Kotter” — and is strangely contagious when you talk with her — she delivers a consistently popular show that returns for its third season tonight (16 shows in a season). You won’t find her recipes among the network’s top-25 list, but that doesn’t matter to her so much. She makes no apologies for being a cook with no formal training.
Giosia’s all about audience engagement. Her experience with branding and online entertainment propelled her from Canadian “mobile show” personality in 2007 to a North American TV host with two cookbooks to her credit and adoring crowds at her public appearances, including her gig in June at the Fancy Food Show in Washington.
In fact, she’s savvy enough to direct a focused and committed media team that delivers her message daily, with humor, across several platforms. And musical playlists to boot.
Celebrity chefs have taken note. “Emeril’s a huge fan,” she said in a recent phone interview. “He told me that he DVRs my show.” Giosia was a guest on ABC’s “The Chew” last month, more than holding her own alongside co-host Mario Batali.
Find excerpts of my interview with her after the jump:
AWCE: How would you describe your mode, for those who might not have seen your series?
Nadia G: It’s a comedy cooking show. We choose a topic — breakup brunches, rehab recipes — do standup and do a meal. It’s a bit structured, with correspondents, like “The Daily Show.”
When you cook on TV, the message comes across as ‘no big deal.’
That’s absolutely what we’re looking for. It’s not rocket surgery. People take food way too seriously.
Whose idea was the crazy set?
Paula Ridolfi, set designer. Also the director, Josh Dorsey, plays a huge part in the visual aspect. I had done some early conceptual stuff. When we first did a show for the Web, we thought, ‘How will we keep people visually engaged with such short clips?’ So we’d change backgrounds with each episode. We’ve continued to do that on a bigger scale.
What’s your target audience?
When we started, we thought it was 25-to-35-year-olds. It’s a lot more varied — even kids and families. The children like the Pee-wee Herman-esque look of the show. Just recently, Fox Sports Radio had a call-in question: What was must-see TV? Bitchin’ Kitchen was the most suggested name. We never expected that demographic.
Now we have one of the most interactive groups. We entertain them on Facebook and Twitter all day, every day.
Social networking seems to be a key component of the BK mojo.
We take that very seriously. We have a staff of three dedicated to it.
Strategically, social is a conversation. People say that all the time but don’t practice what they preach. If you create an awesome video you’ll have 30 comments. If you ask them what their favorite video is, you’ll have 200 comments. People like to talk about themselves.
Bitchin’ Kitchen Facebook: over 100,000 fans.
Twitter: over 28,000.
Our Web site: 68,000 in a month.
Have you changed things up for Season 3?
We have a bunch of new topics, but essentially the format remains the same. It’s a good recipe and we’re sticking to it.
How do you come up with recipes?
A bunch of different ways. I think about stuff I love to eat. Stuff my family’s made or when I’m traveling. I love food and get inspired and want to share it with people.
What does your own kitchen look like?
I live in a loft. Too much clutter drives me crazy.
“Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen” appears on the Cooking Channel on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST; rebroadcasts air on Saturdays and Mondays.