Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Food & DrinkJonathan Bardzik

Streaming now: Jonathan Bardzik’s Seasons to Taste

Now streaming! Global LGBTQ+ network, Revry, is treating your taste buds with its newest original series Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste, a tantalizing 8-episode cooking show.  

Gay storyteller and cook Jonathan Bardzik is the author of three cookbooks including Seasons to Taste: Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table (Story Farm & Tarnów Entertainment), which is the inspiration for this fresh new cooking show.

Ahead of the show’s release and just in time for Mother’s Day, I had the opportunity to chat to Jonathan about the show, his family and what inspires him about cooking.

Richard Jones: Jonathan, you have your mom and dad as guests on the show – what made you decide to invite them?

Jonathan Bardzik: I needed someone to laugh at my jokes. Just kidding. The reason I asked my mom and dad is this: I believe life can and should be lived with joy every single day. I often find that joy preparing a meal, setting a table and sharing it all with the people I love. I learned that from them. Meals were made from scratch, the table was always set and we would sit down together to eat and catch up on each other’s days. And there was always an extra seat and an extra plate for anyone who might show up to join us.

That connection and daily joy is the heart of this show. Today we often live apart from family and friends, we live in places for short periods of time without history or memories. We order from the same restaurants whether we live in New Jersey or Nevada. I wanted to create a place people could tune into to share some time in the kitchen and around the table with me and the people who make my life special. Who better to help tell that story than the people who taught it to me? (Click here for details of the recipe Jonathan cooks with his parents on the show)

RJ: Did your mom teach you how to cook, has she imparted special family recipes to you?

JB: Mom taught me a lot in the kitchen and in the garden. My brother, sister and I were always in the kitchen helping with projects from Christmas cookies to putting the finishing touches on dinner. We also got to practice our dish washing skills. Every night. Katie, Alec and I also helped plant the garden each spring and our summer morning to-do lists included vegetables that were ready to harvest that day.

Jonathan Bardzik with his mom

I think that the two most important lessons we learned from Mom were a love of those fresh, delicious ingredients and an appreciation for thrift. When I was young almost all of the vegetables we ate were from the garden or purchased from local farmers and put up for the winter. Mom also baked all of the bread that we ate. When I cook that way today it seems fabulous and bucolic, but as a child we ate that way because we couldn’t afford to shop at the grocery store for everything. My dad grew up on a family farm and taught my mom that even if you didn’t have a lot of money you could still celebrate each day by putting a meal on the table.

When I started cooking for audiences 10 years ago it was just natural to fill plates with the seasonal vegetables I grew up eating and learning how to cook at home. And it was natural to treat every meal I cooked as a celebration.

RJ: Do you do anything special or traditional for Mother’s Day?

JB: My parents opened a garden center and landscape business the year I was born which meant that Mom was always working on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is to garden centers what Black Friday is to the rest of retail. However, Dad always made sure that at the end of the day there were gifts from Katie, Alec and me and he would prepare dinner on the grill.

This year, Mom and I got to do something very special for Mother’s Day. She and Dad were visiting last week, after we were all vaccinated. Mom jumped in front of the camera with me again to film a Mother’s Day television appearance. Working at the garden center meant there was no Mother’s Day brunch for Mom but last week we showed families how to prepare a special farmers market brunch for their moms.

RJ: You have a lot of other women guests who cook or are in the food business, what made you invite them on the show?

JB: The guests on my show range from culinary experts to producers and a farm market owner. Like my Mom, each of these women is a business owner. And, like my Mom, each of these women bring not only great cooking and cultural knowledge, but a love for gathering their families and friends in the kitchen and around the table.

I truly stand in awe of every single one of my guests: Debbie Moser started Central Farm Markets with her husband Mitch, expanding to three locations. They have curated one of the best farmers market communities in the Washington, DC area.

Soraya Aguilar moved to the U.S. from Spain. She and her husband Tim own Seasons Oil and Vinegar Taproom, an import business that also sells oils from her family’s orchards and mill in Jaén, Spain.

Amy Riolo is an award-winning Mediterranean culture and culinary expert. She leads tours throughout southern Europe and northern Africa, appears regularly on television in the U.S. and internationally, and is the best-selling author of 9 books with number 10 coming soon!

Marianne Tshihamba is also a culinary instructor, writer and television personality. Her expertise comes form her love and experience with world cuisine and finding those ingredients at the wealth of markets here at home.

I’m going to stop there before you start wondering why they kept me in the show!

RJ: You are about to have your first TV show come to air, as you are over 40 – is this something you have wanted for a while? or it’s just a natural step in a longer journey?

JB: In 2011 I hit that point I think many of us do. I was 37 years old, successful in my job, married to my amazing husband, and living in the beautiful Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C. I had checked every one of those before-you-turn-forty boxes and thought, “what is my next big adventure?” Some work with a gifted life coach led to this idea of doing a live cooking demo which I did on July 30th that summer. When my season ended the weekend before Thanksgiving, I was hooked.

Everyone I met and brought into my business, from friends and family to my accountant have all reminded me that from day one I said I wanted a TV show. But, for me this hasn’t been the endless pursuit of that goal but a journey, one I love every single day. If the show never happened I would still feel so blessed by the opportunity to get up each day and do this work, but the show is another amazing moment on a path that keeps growing from publishing three books to appearing on the TedX stage.

When my husband Jason and I were planning our wedding at my family’s home my Dad said to me, “enjoy every minute of this process. You have no idea what will happen on the day of. It could rain or somebody could get sick — so enjoy every single minute along the way. That’s how I see this wonderful career: Set goals, but love every day.

Jonathan’s Kitchen world premieres on Revry May 21 at 4pm PST / 7pm EST and is then available anytime on demand at Revry.tv.  The show is produced by Parrlime Productions & Tarnów Entertainment and directed by Jonathan Bardzik.

Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste sponsors include Central Farm Markets, Five Ways Forward LLC, All-America Selections, Red Bear Craft Brewery, and Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Tap Room.

Richard Jones

Richard is the co-founder of Queer Forty. As a 40-something gay man, he is passionate about creating good, informative and entertaining content for the over 40 LGBTQ Community.

Richard Jones has 135 posts and counting. See all posts by Richard Jones

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