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Jun 9, 2011 11:29 AM

Nick Stellino & Friends...

He has apparently been on PBS for 15 years now. I remember switching the channel when I was younger because I thought his accent was made up and that he was generally a cheeseball.

But I'm watching right now, and while he's still cheesy, there's a lot of useful discussion of technique both from him and his guests. Worthwhile watching if you come across it, I think...

Anyone else watch?

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  1. I remember Nick Stellino's PBS show (from several years back, when shown locally here in Los Angeles). Enjoyed the seemingly scripted and smarmy 'spontaneous' banter with his patrons (in that imaginary restaurant of his) where he would insinuate himself between a guy and gal, and proceed to ooze a type of charm that is best described as exceedingly unctuous. If I remember correctly, he had an old photograph of his sainted mother or grandmother (imaginary, like his 'restaurant', I believe) nearby on a sort-of shrine, and would occassionally talk to the photograph in Italian, seeking her approval from beyond the grave... I do recall thinking that his food looked good, and that he could rock the ponytail-and-beard look fairly convincingly. Watching him was a guilty-but-cautionary treat, like eating candy-corn or those big chewy orange-hued marshmallow peanuts - - almost instantly regretted, mid-chew, and yet you must finish the entire bag :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: silence9

      "exceedingly unctuous" - you slay me.

      I think it was the pony tail that made me stop watching, but he's gotten rid of it now. Yeah. FAAAAR less cheese in this new iteration, but far less still means a lot left.

      Thanks for that post. It's a good day for laughs on CH...

    2. Total cheeseball creep-out. That dude is scary--and a bad cook. Does he pay PBS for airtime?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        Really? I don't think he's a bad cook. He doesn't do the most advanced stuff, but for people looking to make simple Italian dishes, I think the commentary on this new show is quite useful. (I didn't pay attention long enough to comment on the last show...)

        1. re: Kagemusha

          Cheeseball yes, bad cook...not so much. I bought one of his early cookbooks when he first hit PBS. Surprisingly, most of the recipes in it were quite good with very few failures.

          Not bad for a stockbroker turned chef ;-)

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Stockbroker. Really? Interesting... :)

            1. re: inaplasticcup

              Aha! All is revealed--all stockbrokers are creeps, all of ''em!

        2. Why do tv cooks feel the need to fill every on-air moment with talk? Nick is by far the worst for this. Sometimes what a cook is doing does not need explanation. Watching, we get it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pdxgastro

            He is chatty, but on the other hand, given the dearth of actually instructive shows, I think it's a nice alternative. Also, you sound like you might be an experienced cook, but it might surprise you how many people who've been cooking a long time simply do it by rote and don't understand why a thing is done the way it is.

          2. I actually met him at a book signing at Mozzicato's on Franklin Ave in Hartford, CT. The place is small, but people were hanging out the door. It was at the height of his popularity I guess back about 20 years ago. He just made some Torrone for everyone with the owner of the bakery. He is a very nice person and the old Italian women from the area loved him. I have to admit that I still use his recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin. It's simple, but very tasty.

            1. Can't. His earlier iteration as a pony-tailed postcard Sicilian who loved cute gimmicks was bad enough, but he always tended to ruin classic Italian dishes by adding at least one or 2 extra, and inappropriate, ingredients, usually balsamic and/or cream. He's lost weight, cut the hair and trimmed his gimmickry, and has a chef guest, but the food is just not that memorable or interesting enough.