Ginger isn’t only a spice

A redheaded kitchen whiz gives insight into how culture has created his unique set of cooking skills.

Jordan Porciello takes a break from cooking to enjoy a fine scotch.

The table is littered with eight empty bottles of wine, ten full glasses and a plastic bucket of sangria. Crowded around the old wooden table is ten friends, sharing seats and using anything to sit on to claim a spot at the table. The table creaks as people shift in anxiety, waiting patiently for what’s about to happen.

A room away, reflected in a mirror above a sink is a small afro of tightly wound red curls moving methodically about the kitchen. Jordan Porciello works quickly. Chopping vegetables, checking on meat and tossing pizzas in the air all while he banters with his guests and roommates. Tonight is another one of his famous pizza parties that are not to be missed. He wipes his hands on his light grey jeans as he opens the oven to check that it has been heated to the proper temperature. Meeting his approval, the first pizza gets placed gently in the oven and the excitement mounts in the dining room.

Cooking is in Porciello’s blood. It’s a major part of his up-bringing and his culture. Porciello’s cooking is a combination of the past and the present. He was initially taught traditional Italian cooking from his Grandmother, who has passed on her own family recipes and secrets to him.

But now, cooking has become one of Porciello’s passions and major skills that keep his party guest coming back for seconds. His cooking stays true to traditional Italian values.

Basil and oregano are a base for many of Porciello’s dishes and his absolute favorite meal to cook is spaghetti with homemade meatballs and his grandmother’s recipe for homemade tomato sauce, but he’s not afraid to steer away from tradition and experiment with flavours.

“For me, cooking is most definitely a discovery, meaning that I try not to limit myself to just one particular dish or food type or even culture,” says Porciello.

But what makes Porciello different from every other amateur chef out there? Well,  it’s not every day that a 21-year-old male is able to whip up gourmet meals from scratch on a daily basis. Porciello isn’t cooking to impress, he’s cooking because it’s fun for him. On a regular basis, Porciello is told to drop out of his current University and transfer to cooking school because of his raw talent in the kitchen, but he refuses. Cooking is a part of his culture and has become a passion of his, but it’s not a career.

Although as a teen he was not very interested in cooking, but being constantly surrounded by homemade meals that he shared with his family has left him with a certain appreciation for excellent food. His grandmother taught Porciello that food should always been in abundance and that meals are better spent in good company rather than alone.

“Cooking for me is all about fun, but also the satisfaction of preparing something your friends can enjoy with you,” says Porciello.

Because Porciello is proud of his skill set in the kitchen, he started a for his friends and fans alike could follow his daily meals and get the recipes. He posts step by step instructions with photos on how to make his favorite stuffed loin or simple salads. He believes that everything he does in the kitchen deserves to be documented and that cooking should be challenging and fun.

“What can I say, I love to cook and I love the freedom you have. It’s like a laboratory where humans are your subjects and food is what you’re testing. I have always considered myself to be a wizard in the kitchen,” says Porciello.

His Italian heritage has helped him develop his own individual style in the kitchen. He is aware that by being taught by his grandmother he has gained a skill set that not every person can master and he uses his background to continue making amazing meals for those who matter most to him.

And at this pizza party, his closest friends are there to enjoy what he does best. Eight different pizzas are on the menu and there is plenty of wine in abundance. The conversation shows no sign of ceasing even late into the night.

About Meredith Gillies

Meredith Gillies likes doing the cabin thing, scattergories, fluffy animals, toast, ice cold water, earl grey tea in the morning, swimming, Harry Potter, vanilla lattes, Kinder Surprises, Calgary, rooftop patios, ghouls, bulldogs and doing hoodrat stuff with her friends. She's changing the world, one word at a time. → About us