Yesterday we spoke with charming husband-and-wife duo Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos about their new television show, Extra Virgin. Today they explain why, despite their cooking chops, they wouldn’t want to open a restaurant.
What’s your creative process for developing a recipe?
Gabriele: For the most part, I usually don’t think about it. Sometimes it has to do with what I find in my local store. I don’t get scared with pasta so I can experiment with sauces. But the only time we write down recipes, really, is when we shoot them for the blog.
Debi: We’ll also sometimes go to a restaurant and reinvent dishes. We also have ancient Tuscan books from, like, the 17th century, and we’ve transcribed recipes and reinvent dishes from that. We get inspired from history and traveling.
Gabriele: It’s always a process. It’s funny, though. Friends in Italy say, “I cook the same shit as you. What’s the difference? Why do you have a show?”
Would you ever open a restaurant?
Debi: We’ve thought about it —
Gabriele: I was asked a couple of times. But I don’t like cooking for someone when I don’t see their reaction. I want to sit down with them and have a glass of wine. Maybe I would look into a franchise situation where I could consult, but not really.
Debi: And the funny thing is, we have friends who own restaurants but they never go on vacation. We were approached to have a restaurant in Florence and it seemed cool. But part of the beauty of our life is that we’re free to travel and be with our kids. Maybe down the road, but right now we’re having too much fun flying by the seat of our pants.
What are some of the differences between the ways Americans and Italians eat?
Gabriele: When I got to the States everything was so different than in Italy. I was here as a musician wanting to break into the business. So I found myself at home trying to figure things out. So I cooked and cooked and cooked. There’s a sense of abundance here. The 24-hour service is something I’d never seen. In Italy, if you want milk after 7 o’clock, you’d better hope you have a friend who has a bar who can give you some. But here, if you want lobster at midnight, you can get it.
Do you eat at any Italian restaurants here in New York?
Debi: I go to Il Bagatto, and Il Posto Accanto is my favorite brunch. I like Da Silvano, and Gabriele, he likes Bar Pitti. … I haven’t really explored the Upper East Side. I’m sure there are many more restaurants from when I lived here.
The recipes you make on Extra Virgin are relatively simple and all-natural. Do you have any guilty pleasures or favorite junk foods?
Debi: Me, I like barbecue potato chips. Chocolate is another one.
Gabriele: I have the munchies every night.
Debi: We bake a lot. Cakes with powdered sugar. Nutella. But we really never are that guilty. Just guilty of drinking another bottle of great Tuscan wine! But we don’t go for excess. You can’t feel guilty if you eat in moderation and not just consuming food because it’s available.
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 13, 2011