MasterChef’s Nick DiGiovanni Sharpens his Skills in his Debut Cookbook
By Ryan Slattery
MasterChef finalist and viral video phenom, Nick DiGiovanni is adding author to his growing resume. Knife Drop: Creative Recipes Anyone Can Cook is a collection of recipes curated from his life experiences. For example, there is his twist on his grandmother’s Scalloped Scallops, while the Browned Butter Lobster Rolls trace to his New England roots (he went to Harvard University and still lives in Boston).
“I could tell a story for every recipe that’s in the book,” DiGiovanni says. “I drew from a lot of different backgrounds in compiling these recipes, oftentimes adding a creative twist. The inspiration came from everywhere.”
Other easy-to-make recipes include a decadent Blueberry Brie Grilled Cheese, a Smoky Mezcal Rigatoni and his Viral Pasta Chips and Dino Nuggets. He also collaborates with recognizable chefs such as Andrew Zimmern, Robert Irvine and Joanne Chang.
In all, there are more than 100 recipes home cooks can flawlessly execute, and the good news is most are weeknight recipes cooks can follow and complete on a work day. Knife Drop also includes advice on equipment, ingredients and techniques, so home cooks of any ability level can pick up new skills.
“I really think it’s important that everyone learn at least the basics when it comes to cooking,” says DiGiovanni. “I wanted to keep it realistic and keep it accessible. No one is going out and buying crazy ingredients like Wagyu or crab legs. I wanted the recipes in Knife Drop to be simple, delicious food spins on classic dishes.”
DiGiovanni remembers falling in love with food when he was eight or nine years old. He gained national attention as a finalist on MasterChef and has risen to fame as a social media superstar. DiGiovanni has nearly 11 million followers on TikTok and 10 million people subscribe to his YouTube channel.
His stint on MasterChef came about by accident. DiGiovanni said he was walking to class one day and saw a flier advertising auditions for the show. It became a “life-changing” moment.
“I remember sort of looking at it and saying ‘why not?’ I was doing everything I possibly could with food so why not add one more thing to the list. I showed up to the audition and then everything else was kind of a blur after that.”
DiGiovanni says that, while his heart might have “skipped a few beats” meeting Gordon Ramsay and being on the show, he wasn’t intimidated by the Hell’s Kitchen chef.
“It sounds cliché, but I have always treated everyone like they’re just another person. It was a very unique experience,” DiGiovanni says.
The relationship he built with Ramsay has continued. DiGiovanni has famously collaborated with Ramsay and a number of other chefs, athletes and musicians posting video recipes to his social media platforms. DiGiovanni has judged Ramsay’s beef Wellington, made Nutella iced coffee with Joe Jonas, and avocado ice cream with Tom Brady.
He called the experience collaborating with Brady “surreal,” and he was quite impressed with the finished product. “I had never eaten avocado ice cream before. It was actually pretty good,” DiGiovanni admits.
For DiGiovanni, the tutorial videos are a creative way to engage with fans.
“It’s really fun to open people’s eyes to new things. Anytime you have a collaboration, it’s fascinating for people because you have these two people that might both be in the food space, or maybe one is in the food space and one is a professional athlete or a DJ. I just like teaching people to appreciate food and where it comes from.”
Knife Drop: Creative Recipes Anyone Can Cook will be released June 13, 2023.