Friday, August 20, 2010

This Program May Contain Coarse Language

Viewer Discretion is Advised.

We’re here at Fort Camping, a lovely campground in Fort Langley, BC. Nestled under the tall trees…Wait a minute. We’re nestled under tall trees, and they are playing havoc with our satellite reception. In fact, we have no satellite reception and are relying on Canadian cable TV. That is an interesting experience. Most of the channels contain a mixture of Canadian-produced and U.S.-produced programs in a mix-and-match fashion that I have yet to figure out.

But at least I get the Food Network Canada, also a mix of U.S. programs (i.e. “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”) and Canadian programs (“I Do, Let’s Eat”). And I have found a food program that breaks all the rules—“Bitchin’ Kitchen”. Imagine mixing equal parts Guy Fieri and Joan Jett and adding a dash of Alton Brown (“Good Eats”). What you get is Nadia G(iosia), the over-the-top host with black roots, an excess of bling, and a sharp mouth. And the set with its red and black leather door fronts, profusion of diner-like metallic, and unusual collection of objet d’art is certainly not reminiscent of Julia Child.

Nadia created her Bitchin’ Kitchen YouTube channel four years ago and has received awards for “Favourite Mobile Series” and “Hottest Emerging Digital Brand in Canada.” And now she has her own half-hour show on the Food Network Canada.

And she has as her posse: Panos, da Fish n' Meat Guy,

the Spice Agent, whose name she finds impossible to pronounce,

and, my favorite, Hans, the Scantily-Clad Food Corres-pondent. Here we see Hans describing the perfect wine to complement Nadia’s dinner for the in-laws. Hans has a neat trick. He can move each pectoral muscle independent of the other. Wow.

I think the Choosy Beggars web site describes the program best: “This is a show that looks VERY different from everything else on the Food Network: from the set to the host, the music to the random appearance of mini-sketches featuring a small group of cast-mates…. Consider that the average dose of humor on the Food Network is Ina Garten chuckling to herself about adding an extra quarter-teaspoon of vanilla (“And Geoffrey will never know, a-huh-huh-huh-huh-huhhhhh”). Perhaps then you can see the risk in a character with an unpronounceable Israeli name (so his voice is piped in to say it whenever he’s mentioned) to discuss spices, or a greased-up, Speedo-bearing muscleman who often simply flexes at the screen.”

Each program is built around a theme. One program--the Make-Up Meal--featured Zucchini Blossoms with Mimosa Vinaigrette (this is Nadia caressing a zucchini blossom, left), curried chicken pot pie, and Macintosh (below) maple crumble with candied bacon. As Nadia said: “...nothing says ‘sorry for keying your car’ like a shkoff-fest.” (“Shkoff” is Nadiaese for “pigging out”.)

On another show—Impress the In-Laws—Nadia cooked Candied Pecan and Strawberry Salad, Nadia G's "Famous" Drunken Peaches, and Filet Mignon with Maple Balsamic Reduction, Cherry Tomatoes, and Parmesan Potato Croquettes.

But my favorite of the three I’ve seen was Rehab Meals (“Nadia G cooks up hangover meals that help restore the vitamins you lost along with your dignity.”) with: Sweet Potato Poutine smothered in caramelized onion, thyme and peppercorn gravy; Ricotta and Mushroom Medallione with fresh Italian Salsa; and a Celery-Pineapple-Banana smoothie. And this episode ended with Nadia fronting a band while they sang an original song – “I’m Never Drinking Like That Again.” Think this would fly on American TV? Of course not.

Even here, we have been able to follow the sixth season of the Food Network’s “Who Wants to be the Next Food Network Star” and frankly, have been unimpressed by all but two of the contestants. We keep saying to each other: “I’d love to see Nadia competing on this show.” If you’ve seen this program, you have seen one of the judges, Bob Tuschman, who developed and executive-produced Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals”. We keep thinking that Bob is looking for the next Rachael Ray. Nadia? Bob’s head would explode, and he would last be seen lying on the floor of the set gasping for breath.

Bottom line: We loved the show and would vote for Nadia G as the Next Food Network Star, and I leave you today with words of wisdom from the Rehab show: “Remember, everything in moderation—especially moderation.”

Note: the photographs above are shot from the television screen. They are from two shows in the series.

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