Kitsch ‘N Bitch takes a bite out of comfort foods

For some it’s a cheesy slice of pizza, for others a hearty bowl of homemade chowder. Then there are those who can polish off a warm apple pie, given there is hand-whipped cream to go with it.

Chatting at the kitchen table with host Sue Frause during “Bon Appetit: A Julia Child Tribute” in November were Chef Gordon Stewart and award-winning cake creator John Auburn.

For some it’s a cheesy slice of pizza, for others a hearty bowl of homemade chowder. Then there are those who can polish off a warm apple pie, given there is hand-whipped cream to go with it.

It’s comfort food: the delectable, rich-in-calories dishes that have been with us since childhood and the sheer thought of them makes us salivate.

Kitsch ‘N Bitch host Sue Frause and guests will take a closer look at some of our all-time favorites in the third installment of this season’s Kitsch ‘N Bitch at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

Kitsch ‘N Bitch is an innovative format for WICA. The live talk shows feature chefs and food lovers, an on-stage cooking demonstration, the house band Deja Blooze, plus a signature cocktail prepared for each show.

The upcoming installment features comfort food because these dishes spread warmth and happiness.

“It’s January. We’re all supposed to be all about New Years resolutions, but you won’t be craving raw vegetables and fruit smoothies. It’s cold out there,” Frause said.

So what’s Frause’s favorite?

“Food is comfortable all the time for me,” Frause said. Considering that Frause, a travel writer, gets to sample food from around the world during her travels, it is understandable that it is hard to just pick one favorite dish. But she does have one — a classic.

“One Mother’s Day, my son wanted to cook dinner for me. He said, ‘Mom, what do you want?’ It’s a movie, BLT and champagne. I love BLTs,” she said.

Frause and her guests aim to take the chill off the new year as Dan Saul from Langley’s Soup Kitchen will be preparing stone soup; chef Patrick Boin of The Braeburn will create four versions of yummy mac ‘n cheese dishes; and Tree-Top Baking’s Gerry Betz and Larry Lowary will sweeten things up with a unique take on bread pudding.

Michael McInerney of the Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club’s Bullwinkle Bar will mix the show’s signature Kitsch ‘N Bitch drink.

The Kitsch ‘N Bitch house band Deja Blooze is responsible for live music. The blues ensemble featuring David Gregor on vocals and lead guitar, Dave Gignac on harp and guitar, Russell Sparkman on bass and Scott Small on drums, spice things up by playing spirited blues classics and originals.

Sounds like a recipe for success, but just as with great dishes, a show like Kitsch ‘N Bitch has evolved to become the treat it is today.

Frause is looking back at two seasons of Kitsch ‘N Bitch.

“The first show we had 30 people in the audience,” Frause recalled. “At our last show we had more than 150. It really has caught on.”

Besides having developed a successful format, she has garnered a loyal following, and in 2013 Whidbey TV will begin filming the shows to be aired on the local channel.

The idea was to build on the simple principle that people like food and talk shows and Frause likes to talk about food.

“I wouldn’t do it about politics,” Frause said. “But food — yes!”

The self-proclaimed foodie knows many people in the culinary arts community both locally and off-island, which ensures that the format continues to draw interesting combinations of guests. And the structure around it seemed like it evolved naturally to complement the format.

“It needed to be like the Tonight Show. We needed a band. Instead of the host’s sidekick we decided we needed a house barkeeper,” Frause said.

The first half of the show is an unscripted chat about food; the second half of the show includes a cooking demonstration.

“That’s what really is fun,” Frause said. “When we cooked sausages things caught on fire. You can’t predict what happens.”

After the show, the audience is invited to join the team on stage to sample the treats.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the WICA ticket office at 360-221-8268.

After the comfort foods installment, Frause will host Seattle chefs for the annual “Seattle Bites” show in April and in June a Father’s Day BBQ show is scheduled.

Learn more about Kitsch ‘N Bitch at www.WICAonline.com.

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