Just when you thought festival season couldn’t get any more exciting, the mother of all food festivals has finally arrived. The Austin Food & Wine Festival is one of the most anticipated and enjoyable events of the entire year. Each year thousands flock to Auditorium shores to sample amazing delicacies prepared by some of Austin’s most talented chefs while sipping fine wine and cocktails. The festival’s attraction isn’t only limited to filling your belly with food and wine, but attendees are treated and demonstrations and panels of some of the most renown celebrity chefs and TV personalities from across the country.
Cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri have captured America’s attention on HGTV’s hit show, Kitchen Cousins where they brought kitchens from around United States back to life. Their new show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens is set to premier this summer, as the The Cousins take the next step, targeting the country’s most disastrous kitchens and re-envisioning them completely. Beyond television, they are both quite the entrepreneurs! They opened not one, but two restaurants in Jersey City; Carrino Provisions and Talde Jersey City and have launched multiple online series including ULive.com’s Chill & Grill, where they bring a different kind of heat and humor to the barbecue, and AOL’s MANuscript where they tell guys how it really is and how to be a 21st century man.
We caught up with Anthony and John on what drives their success and their upcoming visit to Austin as the Austin Food and Wine Festival approaches.
John: I started working with Anthony at Brunellschi Construction in 2007, so it has been 8 years now. When Anthony and my uncle started the construction company in 2004 they were quickly realizing that they were growing fast and needed help with larger projects. I came on as a project manager and assisted in one of the company’s largest developments of 22 condos and 1 commercial space.
AFM: What makes you so passionate about redesigning kitchens?
John: We have always focused on high design in the kitchen area. It started in our private work because we knew that this is the one room in the house where you spend most of your time. The kitchen is the heart of the home so it should be very unique to you and your family.
Anthony: Kitchens are the true heart of the home, cliche or not. They also happen to be the most complicated room in the home, so for someone like me, who loves function as much as form, it is the perfect marriage.
AFM: What’s the most expensive kitchen make-over you’ve ever completed?
John: Our first season of Kitchen Cousins we did a kitchen that was $150k! It had everything you could ever want; 2 ovens, a fridge, a wine fridge, 2 dish drawers, a separate cooktop, and even a deep fryer!
Anthony: We recently opened two restaurants in Jersey City, NJ (Talde Jersey City and Carrino Provisions). We built both of them from a blank slate, including a 2000 sq foot commercial kitchen to serve both spaces…let’s just say we spent a few dollars here, and have a lot of fire power!
AFM: If money was absolutely no object and you could design a kitchen beyond your wildest dreams, what could we expect to see?
John: The one thing we try to do with many of our designs is blur the line between inside and outside. I would love to build and design a kitchen that has the capability of being partially inside and outside. If we were able to find a space where we could do a retractable roof it would be amazing!
Anthony: Good design and function really doesn’t have anything to do with money, it has to do with good space planning and understanding how a space will be used…money comes into play for all those special goodies you want to add on. I tend to be more of a minimalist, but I would definitely like to add an in-counter deep fryer, in-wall coffee machine that is plumbed in (no more water containers!), and I am dying to do a pizza oven on my roof deck!
John: The most important characteristic of today’s man is passion. The 21st century man is passionate about his partner, children, work and being diverse. he will always want to learn and experience as much as he can.
Anthony: I think being a gentleman is largely over looked these days. Everyone is moving so quickly, instant gratification is becoming the norm, and dating is swiping left and right. Manners and chivalry have largely gone by the wayside…yes, this means actually not checking your phone 50 times while you’re on a date. Be present.
AFM: You have two successful restaurants in Jersey City; Carrino Provisions and Talde Jersey City as well as your hilarious online series Chill & Grill. What’s next for you?
John: We have been so busy this past year, it is hard to keep track of everything, but we love what we do. The past 4 months have been traveling the country shooting our new show on HGTV America’s Most Desperate Kitchens. We have truly found the most desperate that America has and now we are giving these families the most incredible transformations you have ever seen. Every kitchen is unique and specific to the family so each week you will see a totally different design.
Anthoy: We are just wrapping up our last two episodes of ‘America’s Most Desperate Kitchens’, right here in Austin (and so nicely timed with Austin Food & Wine Festival!!), which will premiere this July. It is our best show yet, and my cousin and I are very proud of it. We absolutely cannot wait to share it with everyone.
AFM: What’s your favorite thing to do in Austin? Favorite restaurant?
John: Anthony and I love to eat when we are on the road! We have had amazing meals at Perla’s and Elizabeth Street Cafe. One thing I can say, is that Austin has some incredible food!
Anthony: Oh man…..music / food / salvage (not necessarily in that order). I love all the great vintage and salvage shops around Austin you can really find so great eclectic pieces. As far as a favorite restaurant…Foreign and Domestic is right at the top of my list. Ned does an incredible job over there.
Photo Credit: PMK•BNC and HGTV.com