Extra Virgin Hosts Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos on Tuscanizing Food and Why Their Kids Don't Eat Crap — but Wield 12-Inch Knives

debi gabi.jpg
Cooking Channel
Debi knows that garlic has feelings. Gabriele isn't so sure.

Debi Mazar might be more familiar in her role as the fast-talking publicist Shauna on Entourage, but the next time you see her on the small screen, she'll be playing a chef. But it won't be in character. Rather, she'll be playing herself. Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, are the hosts and stars of Extra Virgin, a new show debuting on January 19 at 10 p.m. on Cooking Channel. We called them up to learn a bit more about how this cooking couple came to be.

What gave you guys the cooking bug?

Debi: When we met, Gabriele and I were both into cooking for our friends and we had grown up being food lovers. We met in Florence. It was funny because he'd take me to his apartment and share these beautiful, simple dishes. Hunks of cheese, prosciutto, melon. ... When I was pregnant and he had come back to America to be with me, he was stunned by the grocery stores and, like, how large the artichokes were. He started to write me a love letter because I was off shooting which turned into a diary. Which really became a cookbook. We were going to call it Food for the Pregnant Tuscan Male, but then a cookbook publisher told us men don't buy cookbooks.

And did that lead to your blog, Under the Tuscan Gun?

Debi: Yeah, we busted out a camcorder. I'm good at directing and the tech aspect and we had fun and people loved it. We never did it for commercial reasons but here we are now five years later. We don't like cooking shows -- we find them boring. Our show is a hybrid -- you see our daughters and our old, broken-down poodle. It's not much different from the blog. We Tuscanize food. I might make a French beef Bourguignon and Gabi will Tuscanize it on the stove and make it better.

What's unique about the show?

Gabriele: We didn't want to teach people to cook but we wanted to embrace food. You know, my oven is where I keep my pots and pans. I don't have an island. It's a real kitchen. When we were location scouting, we saw these fantastic homes. But I cook in my own kitchen for my own family, and that's what we did for the show. It's about getting some good music and getting the kids off the TV. It's less dangerous for them using knives than TV--
Debi: My four-year-old is really chopping onions, every single day.
Gabriele: She's already on the 12-inch chef's knife.

Where did you learn to cook?

Gabriele: My grandmother and my mother. The reason I started was because my mom was a schoolteacher. On Sundays she'd be like, "Don't you fucking dare wake me up before 11," so she told me where all the stuff was and I'd cook with my grandmother. So one day when I was about six I decided to bake a cake. I didn't have an allowance so I put a price on it and I served breakfast and that's how I got my allowance.

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