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G. Garvin’s Connecticut Travel Guide

Me and Natalie Duplessy, the pastry chef at Mama's Boy

Connecticut is the southernmost state in New England and a neighbor of New York and Massachusetts, making it a great state for a quick vacation. The restaurant scene is alive and growing, thanks to local purveyors. During the warmer months the farms are open to visitors and are an awesome place to bring the family to pick fresh fruits.

Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge
Greer Fredericks showed me a great time at her restaurant with every meal. South Norwalk has some wonderful spots, especially this one. Southern hospitality is the top priority at Mama’s Boy. You’ll feel the warm welcome as soon as you walk in, and you won’t want to leave, because of the amazing cakes!

Sandra’s Next Generation
What I love about Sandra’s Next Generation is how much they treat you like family. Sandra, her husband and their children do a magnificent job making truly soulful cooking and giving you a great experience. It’s also a nice spot to meet some of New Haven’s locals.

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Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos’ Guilty-Pleasure Foods

There are things in life we just cannot resist; it’s as simple as that.

I remember working in the gigantic kitchen of the Loews Hotel during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival a few years back, with multiple chefs preparing a menu for a 3,000-person tented event. It was a pleasurable mayhem of cooks, ingredients and loud jokes, and nobody yet was taking selfies. One of my chef friends was preparing chowder in a gigantic cooker; he climbed up on a short step stool and poured a bucket full of corn into the soup. He started laughing as a member of his crew passed him a second bucket, filled with what looked, at least from my station, like some sort of meat. My interest in the ongoing chowder preparation did not go unnoticed. My friend looked at me and said, “Everything tastes better with corn and bacon!”

In all honesty I really could not reply to that, as I did not agree at all. I did not grow up with a taste for either corn or bacon, simply because in Italy they are not popular ingredients. I like them both, but there’s no emotional attachment there. But the thought gave me pause, especially since my friend was sporting an ear-to-ear smile; he clearly was truly in love with his recipe, already longing for the first taste of what to him was going to be delicious.

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Why Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar Go All Out for His Nonna’s Birthday

I spent the first two decades of my life patiently waiting for some sort of “total emancipation”; I always thought that freedom needed to be earned with age, and that once it happened I would finally find myself living the life I wanted. In the end, I believe only a few things are as pleasurable and powerful in life as being able to make decisions for yourself.

I found true freedom on the day I met my wife, Debi, about 13 years ago. I decided to follow her to Los Angeles, clearly inspired and motivated to build a family and grow old with her by my side. Always an incredible romantic, I made that decision impulsively. There were no questions or doubts in my mind, and it took me less than a month to leave everything behind and move to the U.S. It was a very happy decision: “I have finally found THE LOVE! I can feel it in each and every fiber of my body. THIS IS THE ONE!” I told myself, and my mom and the rest of my family, and all my friends.

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Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Ingredient Hunting in Italy

There is no doubt that while in Italy, truffles might be one of the most-precious ingredients you can come across. However, as you travel through the Bel Paese, you might also discover that many items can tickle your palate in the most-luxurious way without necessarily being as expensive as truffles.

Every region, province, village or piece of farmland has something special to offer, from the most vibrant produce down south to the most-amazing cheeses on top of the Alps, the fresh, cheap sardines you can buy on the docks in Livorno, and the best (and only) Prosecco in the northeast.

You might argue that hunting for tomatoes is not half as exciting as hunting for truffles, but have you ever scored 2 pounds of ripe San Marzano tomatoes in the middle of August at a roadside stand in Calabria? The moment you bite into that warm fruit you are reminded of your place on Earth!

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How Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar Throw a BBQ


We moved to the East Coast a couple of years ago, after more than a decade spent in sunny Southern California, and arrived at the end of August, just in time to catch the tail end of a very hot and humid summer.

Relocating from a California home into a Brooklyn house has been quite an adjustment (read “shock”) for all of us, dog included, but now that a few seasons have passed I can honestly say it feels we have settled down, at least for the moment.

We have left behind our pizza oven and a gargantuan barbecue that had more knobs and controls and pieces than anything I had ever seen before moving to America. I felt violated, especially when I realized there was no way I could have a pizza oven in the backyard of my new rental home. I never particularly cared for the spaceship barbecue, as I truly believe that once you have fire to cook on, you are set; there is no need for extreme accessorizing or overcomplicating the simplest way of cooking that a live fire is.

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Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Pantry Staples for Cooking Tuscan-Style

Cooking Tuscan is all about simplicity, freshness and, ultimately, generosity. It is about working very conscientiously in the kitchen, inspired by the necessity of caring for the ones you love. Cooking is pursuing a bond with people around the kitchen table, and food is the medium by which this is achieved. “The cook” in this equation is just a catalyst — sometimes in the form of a mother or grandmother, and sometimes in the form of a restaurant chef or a farmer.

The Tuscan kitchen reflects this sentiment abundantly. Nothing is more important than the table; it should be the right size and should feel warm and familiar, something that facilitates the celebration of a meal together.

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Go Eat a Friggin’ Rainbow! Alie & Georgia’s Guide to Colorful, Healthy Eating

Turns out, an apple a day does not keep the doctor away. But seven might.

The University College London studied the eating habits and health of more than 65,000 people, and recently published the finding that seven servings of fruits and veggies a day cut death risk by 42 percent compared with eating less than one serving a day — as opposed to a 29 percent reduction in five-a-day eaters.

What does this mean? Grub some plant-y things As if your life depended on it!

But stay on track and keep things colorful using the simple trick of eating a rainbow a day. This does not mean chasing water vapor to the end of a horizon; just look for the color fruit or veggie you haven’t eaten yet and gobble it up like you’re in a video game. The more you chomp, the longer you’ll be around. Pretty delicious strategy, if you arm yourself with these handy recipe suggestions:


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Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Road Trip Eating Tips

As a family we love taking road trips, especially after having moved to Brooklyn, where we feel a bit constricted by the “concrete jungle.” It’s fun to load up the car, punch a few digits into the nav system and go explore what surrounds the city: Long Island and the Hamptons to the east, Upstate New York to the north, Pennsylvania to the west and south.

Tradition wants that we never leave for a road trip without a couple of bags loaded with food, and possibly a cooler with drinks: When traveling with kids, it’s always better to be ready rather than to all of a sudden become slave to a tantrum because of an empty stomach. Therefore, whenever we embark on a new road trip adventure, we never leave without our mortadella or prosciutto sandwiches, the absolutely necessary slices of pecorino cheese to eat with some fruit, and the occasional yogurt, cereal bar or bag of cookies. What we carry along with us goes into our “first-aid kit” in case of hunger; otherwise we usually have tons of fun trying to figure out what to eat locally and where. We ask people on the side of the road; we read every sign posted; sometimes we even track down smells. Imagine driving on a late-summer afternoon and smelling barbecued meat and fresh corn. Wouldn’t you stop the car to smell the air and adjust your route?

When we travel across Italy it is extremely easy and safe to rely on the local Autogrill, a fantastic chain of highway pit stops where the food is prepared on the spot by cooks from the area.

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Tiffani Thiessen’s Dinner Party Secrets and More

Actress Tiffani Thiessen likes to throw intimate dinner parties at her house for her celebrity friends. She let us film them. We call it Dinner at Tiffani’s. Tune in for Tiffani’s favorite home-cooked dishes (Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, for example), delicious drinks (Blackberry Cocktail, for another) and entertaining stories from Tiffani’s celebrity guests.

We caught up with Tiffani to ask her about her hosting style, her favorite restaurants and more.

Cooking Channel: How would you describe your hosting style?
Tiffani Thiessen: Relaxed, warm, inviting and fun with a big side of silly.

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Good to Know: The Ultimate Kids’ Table

Cooking Channel’s original web series Good to Know offers up genius DIY hacks that will ease everyday chores and up your party-planning game. Today, hosts Dan Pashman and Laurie March kick off the holiday season with tips for creating an awesome, interactive kids’ table for any family shindig using craft paper, stickers, cupcake trees and even a non-alcoholic scorpion bowl. With these handy tips, pint-sized guests — and their parents — will be begging for a spot at the kiddie table:

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