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Eat and Drink

Brooklyn kitchen featured in Gabriele Corcos’ live cooking show ‘Counter Talk’

After hosting a successful TV cooking show with his famous actress wife for five seasons, writing a New York Times bestselling cookbook, winning a James Beard Award and running a popular Brooklyn restaurant, one could argue that there’s not much left for Gabriele Corcos to accomplish in the food game.

So, for his next project, the Italian chef is looking to change the game.

The Florence native made his bones hosting “Extra Virgin” on the Cooking Channel with his wife, Queens’ own Debi Mazar. After relocating from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, Corcos opened The Tuscan Gun in Windsor Terrace, at 199 Windsor Pl., because of the neighborhood’s good schools for the couple’s kids.

Corcos hosts 'Counter Talk' live from The Tuscan Gun

Gabriele Corcos during the Jan. 23 taping of
Photo Credit: Joseph Ellingham

The chef sees the one-hour web show, which launched Jan. 16 and is streamed through Facebook Live, as a new platform for him to interact with his fans, and the world at large.

“I wanted to get into people’s homes in a different way,” Corcos said before taping the second episode of his show last week. “Before, it was about what the bosses wanted me to do on the show [‘Extra Virgin’]. Now I can do what I want and make it more personal. It’s not all about the money. It’s always been about food and family and having fun.”

In addition to showcasing food, the show is a platform for musical talent

Sophia Urista sings during the Jan. 23 taping
Photo Credit: Joseph Ellingham

“I want people to know who’s the person who sings the song,” Corcos said. “Let’s get to know them. Let’s talk and have some food, have some drinks. Have a good time.”

Before Tuesday night’s live taping, Corcos and his crew were busy testing microphones (they’d heard from viewers about sound issues the week before). 

A short time later the night’s musical guest and her guitarist arrived. Sophia Urista (pictured), a Manhattan singer from Detroit, was a Top 20 contestant during Season 11 of “The Voice.” The blues-rock artist is currently recording her first album. Corcos greeted the duo, and over a pre-streaming cocktail they discussed how the show would go.

In the kitchen, two chefs were busy preparing the night’s meal

Photo Credit: Joseph Ellingham

The theme of the show was “Family,” focusing on how to combine work, fun, kids and life.

As the taping began, two cameramen followed host Corcos around the cozy restaurant. He addressed his wife, who is in Spain filming a movie, and asked viewers to send her pictures of flowers. Following the family theme, Corcos’ eldest daughter and two of her friends sat at a table doing their math homework.

After a short conversation where he was told that his help was definitely not needed with the girls’ homework, Corcos had a short interview with Urista, and then she performed. 

The food was meant to be easy and comforting

Spaghetti alla puttanesca, served during the Jan. 23
Photo Credit: Joseph Ellingham

Corcos gave tips on how to make the night’s featured dishes: spaghetti alla puttanesca (pictured) and a refreshing Sicilian salad with fennel, red onions and blood orange slices. (Recipes for that week’s dishes are posted on Counter Talk’s Facebook page a few days in advance, so viewers can make them during the show, too.). Food was served. Drinks were made. There was another song, a few short segments and a final jam session with Corcos on percussion.

Afterward, Corcos was happy. On the first show, he thought he drank too much, spoke too quickly and swore too often. For this episode, he held onto a small glass of beer for much of the show and set up a swear jar to limit himself, with the “proceeds” going to the Food Bank For New York City (he still ended up putting money in the jar throughout the taping).

“Counter Talk” is “very different from anything I thought I would do,” Corcos said. 

After he and Mazar recently appeared on “The Untitled Action Bronson Show” on Vice, Corcos said he had a revelation.

“Being on that show was very important. I saw what they do with all their support and professional facilities, and I knew that I could do that,” he explained. “With my space and experience and team, I knew I could do something that was honest and true to myself. And I could do it well.”

Moving forward, Corcos is expecting to receive 3-D cameras soon, and is moving into the world of virtual reality (VR). He wants to get the show to a stage where people can tune in and be able to buy whatever they see — the artwork, dishes, cutlery, ingredients, wine, etc. — via VR technology.

The show is “all self-financed,” Corcos said, though he is accepting donations via PayPal. There are a few sponsors — Bed Bath & Beyond and florist Repeat Roses among them — and interest is flowing in from all corners of the globe, he said.

“It’s got to be right,” he said about taking on sponsors and growing his brand. “I want to help small businesses and small farmers. I’m not gonna sign up to push and sell some product just to get a check.”

(“Counter Talk' streams live Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at countertalk.live. The show gives away two free tickets to each taping; enter by signing up for its newsletter.)

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