by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
with Chef Bobby Flay
Wednesdays, 10 p.m. PT
Being in the kitchen is something that Marc Sievers, 31, became accustomed to when he was a little boy. His Nan always involved Sievers when she was in the kitchen, teaching the boy about baking and preparing food for family dinners, holidays, and really whenever she was feeling creative.
'I would watch cooking shows on PBS like Julia Child and was always enamored by what she would create,' Sievers, a former Seattle resident who now lives in Chicago, told Seattle Gay News. 'From then on, I watched all kinds of cooking shows, would read cookbooks, would play 'restaurant' with all my cousins - I have a lot of them - and just experiment with food and textures.'
'Nan taught me a lot of what I know and always instilled in me the confidence to do what I love, and that was to be in the kitchen, set a beautiful table, and really, just entertain family and friends,' he said. 'Along with my wonderful and talented husband, Ryan Sievers, we have now built a business around my passion and I couldn't be happier with the direction we are going!'
The Sieverses have cause to celebrate: 2012 was hugely successful for them. The two were cast on a reality cooking TV show on the Food Network and saw their cookbook col-laboration, Entertaining With Love, published in the fall.
DINNER PARTY SHOWDOWN
It's time for the dinner party competition of a lifetime! Master Chef Bobby Flay has canvassed the United States, locating America's most outstanding home cooks and offering them the chance to be crowned their city's best. Using their unique skills and homegrown ingenuity, each team is given a limited budget and three hours to transform a secret theme into a spectacular three-course dinner party for Bobby, their competition, and a special guest.
When Chef Flay's show, Bobby's Dinner Battle, arrived in Chicago, Sievers and his husband were cast. In the Chicago episode, Flay challenges three teams to throw a 'speak-easy'-themed dinner party.
Here is what the show's media release said:
'While husband-and-wife Steve and Kat's party feels more Prohibition than speakeasy, husbands Marc and Ryan serve everything but the kitchen sink, and mother-and-son Doris and John take the theme to a whole new level with their dinner theater antics. Who will be named the best home cooks in Chicago and take home the coveted Bobby's Din-ner Battle trophy?'
The Chicago episode premieres January 30, at 10 p.m. Pacific time on the Food Network.
'THE BEST INGREDIENT'
For many of us, the idea of simply cooking a meal is daunting enough, but for Sievers the kitchen, he tells SGN, is where he shines.
'The kitchen for me is where I can be creative, carefree, and inventive,' he said. 'There is no judging, no mistakes - because that is how you learn - and, best of all, it's my peaceful place where I feel the most comfortable.
'I'm inspired by so many things in life: people, colors, sounds, you name it,' Sievers continued. 'My cooking always comes from memories, both childhood and adult, and what inspired me in my life, which anyone who knows me is love - it's the best ingredient!'
RAISE YOUR OWN GAME
'Entertaining expert, elevated home cook, and cookbook author Marc J. Sievers has created an elegant and visually stunning guide for everyday entertaining,' says a press release obtained by SGN. 'Entertaining with Love: Inspired Recipes for Everyday Entertaining has 240 pages of stunning photographs, easy-to-follow recipes, and a compendium of useful entertaining tips and tricks assembled from Marc's years of experience and know-how.'
Entertaining with Love brings together inspired recipes for everyday entertaining, kitchen tips, and fabulous entertaining tricks. Sievers has captured and shared the essence of his expertise to help the reader throw an intimate themed dinner party, a surprise birthday celebration for a little one, celebrate an anniversary, or just share a grand time with close friends.
According to the publisher, 'You can easily elevate your event to a memorable one with his accessible and straightforward recipes that are easy to follow.'
In the book, Sievers details some of his best tips for great entertaining results, as well as time and stress-saving tricks, to help anyone put together a great event while having a good time before, during, and afterward.
Sievers told SGN that the inspiration for the book came from 'people telling me that I had to write a book and share with others my recipes and philosophy of entertaining. Ryan and I sat down one evening over a bottle of wine and said out loud, 'We can do this together.' I managed all the recipes, testing, and writing, and hubby did all the photography and design work. It was a process that involved endless trips to the grocery store, trial-and-error, and sheer genius moments. I am so proud of this book and what we as a couple did together!'
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
As with any seasoned cook, there was a time when Sievers hadn't yet perfected his art. 'I would say my number-one kitchen disaster was when I was having some friends over for dinner and I wanted to make these incredibly rich and decadent brownies (with over a pound of chocolate). It was just about time for the doorbell to ring, and I needed to take the brownies out of the oven. I grabbed my potholders, reached in, and turned to place them on the counter. Well ... I tripped over my kitchen mat and the brownies went flying out of my hand and landed with a crash onto the floor, shattering the baking dish and completely destroying the brownies!'
'I'm not going to lie, I did have a mini-meltdown,' he recalls. 'I quickly cleaned up the mess and headed for my pantry, grabbed an emergency boxed mix - yes, I said boxed - doctored it up with some extra flavoring, and POOF ... they turned out fantastic! Nobody was the wiser.'
THE DREAM CAKE
Sievers says that when you do get it right, it's an amazing feeling. 'My favorite time was the wedding cake Ryan and I prepared together for our wedding.'
The two men got married in March of last year and decided that since they didn't have the budget for a big soirée, they would invite just four people: 'Ryan's brother and his wife, and my godmother and cousin [who is like a sister to Marc] and go to the courthouse and have an old fashioned ceremony.
'We knew we wanted to cook a beautiful dinner and make our own wedding cake, complete with cake topper and all,' said Sievers. 'The food was amazing, and the cake was out of a fairy tale! It was three tiers, nine layers, three flavors of cake, three flavors of filling, and three different buttercreams. It was a happy day, to say the least!'
If you spend just five minutes with Sievers you'll see, just as I'm sure the Food Network TV officials saw, this queen is camera-ready at all times and fans will adore him - he is unique but not odd. 'I am obsessed with Christmas and its entire splendor,' he told SGN. I'm already planning this year's tree theme.'
He also said, 'I have a three-pound purebred Chihuahua, Lady von Pupperheimer. She is the cutest thing and keeps me company in the kitchen.'
And my favorite, 'I think I sound like Celine Dion in the shower, but I'm told I don't ... go figure!'
ONLINE VIDEO SERIES
For Sievers, cooking means expressing emotions, ideas and being able to use my creativity and expertise to prepare and serve food from the heart.
'When I see people enjoy the meal I have prepared I'm always honored and humbled by their response!'
The first episode of a new Web series Sievers stars in, From My Kitchen to Yours, is now on YouTube. Watch for more episodes starting at the end of the month.
Sievers is also currently testing recipes for a companion book series, the first volume of which is due out in mid-May. In the meantime, you can Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marcryanco and follow him on Twitter @MarcRyanCo.
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