The One Person Nick DiGiovanni Wishes He Could Cook For - Exclusive

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People love to explore the thought experiment of who they would most like to have dinner with, be it a celebrity, historical figure, or lost relative. But if you ask chefs, they'll likely tell you who they'd most like to cook for instead. Sometimes it's a former mentor or a famed chef they admire. Or, in the case of culinary social media sensation Nick DiGiovanni, the answer hits a bit closer to home. 

The chef recently spoke with actress and cookbook author Tiffani Thiessen for an installment of Tasting Table's "Shared Tastes" series, and touchingly admitted he would keep it in the family if given the chance to have this hypothetical dream come true. "If I could cook for anybody, I'd probably cook for my grandmother. I'd probably cook for my dad's mom," said DiGiovanni. "She never got to see my love for food. I was too young at that time, and I think she'd like that." 

That love for food, while not something his grandmother was able to see fully blossom, was directly inspired by her, he explained. Over holidays, DiGiovanni would watch in awe as she single-handedly turned out meals for upwards of 40 people. Even as a child, he was impressed by his grandmother, who he described as a "sole catering company." DiGiovanni added that he would stay intentionally out of her way on those intense cooking days, all the while absorbing as much kitchen knowledge as he could from his grandmother.

On family and culinary lessons

Family has always been foundational to DiGiovanni and his development as a chef and food media personality. Before he was on "MasterChef" and had a follower base of more than 20 million people across social media, DiGiovanni soaked up all the culinary lessons his family dispensed, whether intentionally or not. 

An example of the latter would be his parent's lackluster skill set when it came to reusing leftovers, which touches on his passion for bringing sustainable practices into the kitchen. "My mom certainly could use a crash course ... on how to treat your leftovers well," DiGiovanni mentioned. "My dad, too, makes a lot of jokes about the leftovers we had growing up, but at the same time, it's one of those things that made me appreciate food every time we had it. Now, that makes me so conscious about all this stuff."

All the lessons that he's learned along the way are featured in DiGiovanni's first cookbook, "Knife Drop: Creative Recipes Anyone Can Cook," which is now available. In the book, he conveys his own love for cooking while providing an on-ramp for newcomers curious about getting in the kitchen. "I pulled together a bunch of different things in my background, whether it's family or the different places I've traveled to — the whole nine yards — to try to put all my learnings into one place."

Click here to order "Knife Drop: Creative Recipes Anyone Can Cook," available on June 13. Follow the latest from Nick DiGiovanni on TikTok and YouTube.