Frankie Celenza says Struggle Meals Season 8 focuses on this type of cooking, interview

Frankie Celenza on Struggle Meals Season 8, photo provided by Tastemade
Frankie Celenza on Struggle Meals Season 8, photo provided by Tastemade /

As Struggle Meals Season 8 begins to air on Tastemade, Frankie Celenza has seen all types of food trends, hacks, and concepts come and go throughout the years. While social media might make some cooking methods seem effortless, a home cook’s success really comes down to simplicity. Great food does not have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to be complicated. Frankie perfected that concept on his Tastemade show.

Ahead of Struggle Meals Season 8 airing on Tastemade, Frankie spoke to FoodSided about a variety of food related topics and why this show, and corresponding Facebook group, has been successful and helpful to many cooks.

Frankie said that “Struggle Meals fills a really useful spot. It is how people cook every day. Even though people want all these riches and extravagance, the reality is that this show represents how people cook in a fun and engaging way.”

That acceptance of being an every day person is not compromise; it is about education and appreciation for food. While a restaurant might have great cooks on the line who can make the perfect meal, that going out for dinner might not be the most cost-effective expense for the average person. But, anyone can make and enjoy a tasty meal at home, as long as they take the opportunity to learn and put those skills to practice.

Struggle Meals Season 8 Tastemade Frankie Celenza
Frankie Celenza on Struggle Meals Season 8, photo provided by Tastemade /

Over the years Struggle Meals has evolved to stay in step with what home cooks want. As food prices continue to rise, consumers may not be focusing on the chuck roast versus the filet mignon. Now, it might be replacing that meat cut for a satisfying meal that is plant based. These concepts are not necessarily food trends; rather they are extension of finding balance with flavor, ingredients, and cost.

Throughout Struggle Meals Season 8, Frankie tackles a variety of subjects. From one pot meals with less clean-up to maximizing food scraps, all these concepts work together to make cooking engaging, cost-effective, and less wasteful. Those three components are valuable concepts for any home cook.

One of the concepts that may not often be discussed on food television cooking for the season. While many people have come to appreciate that buying seasonal produce in season is more flavorful and cost effective, it is beyond just the ingredients.

Frankie explained, “this season of Struggle Meals features spring and summer dishes. The idea is to get people back to thinking about seasonality as a whole. Your body knows how to intuitively eat. On a hot day, your body might prefer a salad or something lighter. But, if the home cook does not have a dish or a recipe that works for them, they might turn to the familiar dish that might not be right for the season.” Through these episodes, Frankie hopes to expand home cooks’ repertoire and give them more options to choose from.

While he is conscious of food trends and social media hype, Frankie appreciates that being practical and simple has staying power. Just like a chef starts in one area and works his way up the line, the foundation is vital. No one can just start with a souffle. A brownie is a more reasonable starting point dessert.

Throughout each Struggle Meals episode Frankie is thoughtful with ingredient choices. Whether it is using fresh herbs that he grows in the kitchen or incorporating some red pepper in a dish, those staples are the building blocks for cooking confidence.

And one big tip that Frankie thinks that more home cooks should utilize, red pepper flakes. Although recipes tend to use cracked pepper, Frankie recommends the red pepper flakes swap.

He said, “red pepper flakes last a long time and still retain their flavor. Unlike cracker black pepper which can go bad in a couple of months, that red pepper flakes container has staying power. Given that they are in the same spice family with similar flavor profiles, it is the easy way to go.”

As people tune into Struggle Meals Season 8 on Tastemade, the cooking tips and tricks are many. From cost savings to simplifying a dish, these tips are ones that people should bookmark and retain. A great dinner does not require a chef’s coat or an expensive bill. It just takes thought, application, and a little cooking confidence.

Struggle Meals can be watched on Tastemade. The new season began on March 30 and new episodes debut weekly. Additional content can be found online.