Chef Frankie Celenza shows any cook can master Struggle Meals

Chef Frankie Celenza x Tastemade's Holiday Edition of Fan-Favorite Series STRUGGLE MEALS, photo provided by Struggle Meals
Chef Frankie Celenza x Tastemade's Holiday Edition of Fan-Favorite Series STRUGGLE MEALS, photo provided by Struggle Meals /

If you haven’t discovered Struggle Meals, Chef Frankie Celenza might be your new cooking guru.

While many people have stepped up their cooking game, Chef Frankie Celenza understands that some people need straight-forward, cost-effective recipes. In Struggle Meals, airing on Tastemade, his cooking method takes the stress out of preparing a meal. In a new partnership with Walmart, the ease of buying, cooking and enjoying a meal from start to finish is far from a struggle.

Many people use food television as a form of entertainment and escapism. Whether it is Top Chef and its celebrated chefs making elevated food look effortless or the epic baking fails that make us all feel a little better about our cooking mishaps, food television fills people feeds.

Although some shows might make for great entertainment, the classic cooking demo has disappeared. Older cooks can remember the days of Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals and Emeril’s iconic “bam.” Through those shows, many people learned the methods, tricks and tips on cooking a tasty, yet approachable, meal.

As more and more people took to ordering in or dining out every night, those cooking skills were replaced speedy fingers. Still, the skill of cooking a meal without breaking the bank is being embraced by more and more people. Luckily Chef Frankie Celenza and Struggle Meals are here to make the whole process even easier.

In the past year, many people have discovered or re-discovered Struggle Meals on Tastemade. The fast paced episodes and easy to follow recipes are different than cooking for dummies, but it does take the fear and stress out of cooking. Geared to a younger audience, yet approachable for any cook, these recipe ideas and cooking techniques take the stress out of cooking any meal.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Frankie Celenza. From some simple cooking ideas to the Walmart integration, it is clear that with his simple advice there is definitely less struggle in the kitchen.

During our conversation, we spoke about the easiness that comes from watching him cook on Struggle Meals. He mentioned that many of the recipe decisions, ingredients and even kitchen essentials are intentional.

For example, some of his holiday episodes feature just one pan. For Celenza, showing the versatility of a great cast iron pan is key. The same can be said of a sheet pan. He believes that there should be no barrier to entry when it comes to cooking. By making the process simple and straightforward, there is no reason why anyone cannot get into the kitchen and cook.

That ease of entry is why the Tastemade and Walmart collaboration is so genius. With a touch of button a recipe list becomes a shopping list. Similar to how a person picks a dish from a menu, the process curates everything that a home cook needs for a particular recipe.

For Celenza, that idea is what entices the home cook to get into the kitchen and cook. By simplifying the whole process from start to finish, there is no reason not to turn on the oven. Instead of being overwhelmed, people are drawn into the streamlined scenario.

Another reason why this idea has been embraced by so many people is the focus on affordability. Food costs can be a large part of any budget. Although some chefs and cooking show exult the idea of $100 burgers and extravagant food options, those ideas aren’t the reality for the normal cook.

As seen in each episode, these Struggle Meals do not break the bank. Whether using fresh herbs that are home grown or re-purposing ingredients, Celenza’s choices are intentional. He believes that big flavor doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Celenza mentioned that saving money is important to most home cooks and he makes that idea a priority in his choices. At the same time, he doesn’t sacrifice big flavor. Each recipe makes the most out of each ingredient in a way that anyone can execute and appreciate.

While not specifically noted on each episode, Celenza does take food waste into consideration, too. Whether it is re-purposing leftovers or cooking root to tip, these ideas are another way to stretch the food budget. Again, the interrelated aspect of smart home cooking is key.

While the Walmart and Tastemade collaboration is for a limited time, Struggle Meals has numerous seasons and hundreds of recipes on Tastemade. Even if you have never made a scratch meal in your life, the cooking hacks using store made biscuits will impress your family and friends. There is a recipe that even the person who burns toast can master with ease.

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Struggle Meals is available on Tastemade. Some of the holiday recipes clips in partnership with Walmart are available on Facebook.

Isn’t it time to resolve to put down the takeout menu and pick up the pan? With Struggle Meals and Chef Frankie Celenza, the choice is easy.