Get to know Nadia G
You can't deny that Nadia G. gets creative in the kitchen with food. Follow her new series, Sick Kitchens, as she brings her creative touch to kitchen makeovers.
Nadia G. is the stiletto-strutting chef who serves up her dishes with a hearty side of humor on the Cooking Channel's Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen.
However, Nadia's creative touch isn't limited to culinary concoctions (check out her recipe below for vegan dark chocolate and caramelized banana pie). Now she's taking on kitchen makeovers for those that need a pinch of something extra.
Nadia's new original series, Sick Kitchens, is on Ulive, an online destination for fresh original video series in food, home, travel and more. In the series, you'll find Nadia completely rebuilding kitchens in need of a signature Nadia G. makeover. Along the way, she shares tips on how viewers can make their own kitchens “sick.” I caught up with Nadia to talk a bit about Sick Kitchens and then some.
SheKnows: How bad — in other words, boring — were some of the kitchens that you worked on in the Sick Kitchens series?
Nadia G.: I wish the kitchens were boring! They were terrifying! I'm talking bile-yellow cabinetry, plastic fold out chairs; empty beer bottle "décor.” These kitchens needed some serious help. From complete rebuilds to non-destructive rental makeovers, we did it all. And the best part: we did it with big, bitchin' style! So many kitchen makeovers are generic. Our makeovers are wild! Think Pimp My Ride minus the 50 useless LCD screens. We teach people to have some fun with their space, and express themselves both in and out of the kitchen.
SK: What is one of your favorite ways to easily (and on the cheap) perk up a kitchen that needs a little something?
NG: Upcycling! We created a stunning blackboard fridge out of an old hospital green, 70's monstrosity. We also took a nasty old "country style" table and turned it into a collage masterpiece using the participant's most meaningful photos. These ideas are creative, beautiful, and cost very little. All it takes is some passion and elbow grease.
SK: Do you think you'd ever switch careers to home design?
NG: Sure. Design has always been a huge passion of mine. I helped design the Bitchin' Kitchen set, all our branding, our merch. It was a natural transition for me. I'm really excited about the newest tee shirt I designed. It's a 50's pinup that says "I'll make you a sandwich honey! Wheat, rye, or Go F@ck Yourself." They're selling like hot cakes on my site, Nadia G's Bitchin' Boutique.
SK: What was the most interesting thing you ate this year?
NG: Let's go with a vegan dish: a smoked coconut BLT. Smoky, spicy, salty. Coconut is an amazing replacement for bacon.
SK: What's your favorite cocktail?
NG: I have to give myself props for this one: grapefruit cilantro mojito. So good. The ingredients:
In a shaker, combine all the ingredients. Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into a martini glass rimmed with maple flakes. Drop in 2 cilantro leaves, and garnish the glass with a pink grapefruit rind twist.
SK: Is there something (food) you used to detest but now enjoy?
NG: I used to detest sweetbreads, (a nice way of referencing the thymus gland of a calf). They can be quite tasty. . . if they're deep fried and smothered in a spicy Thai chili glaze so that you don't know what the hell you're ingesting.
SK: Who or what inspired you to cook?
NG: Hunger. It's the mother of all invention.
SK: What are your favorite types of meals to cook?
NG: Simple meals where a few fresh ingredients do the talking: Puttanesca pasta, grilled bread with truffle salt and premium jarred tuna, burrata drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel.
SK: Do you cook a lot of vegan dishes?
NG: I do! I believe meat should be enjoyed on occasion, like cheesecake or blackouts. â¨
SK: What sorts of misconceptions do you think people have about cooking and/or eating vegan?
NG: That it isn't delicious, or doesn't have enough protein. Vegan cuisine is both scrumptious and healthy, although like any type of cuisine it takes patience to get to know the ingredient vocabulary. â¨
SK: What culinary nuggets of gold would you share with people who don't have a lot of experience in the kitchen? Any tips for what they can do to easily (and quickly) put a good meal together?
NG: Don't be afraid to make a mess! Cooking is easier than you think, you just have to persevere and get back on that horse if you ever wanna make tartare out of it. . . Uh-oh! that may have been a bad example!
Try this recipe from Nadia G:
Vegan dark chocolate and caramelized banana pie
For the coconut almond crust
For the dark chocolate filling
For the caramelized bananas
Shkiaffing it together
More vegan recipes