We’ve finally found it! A sexy foodie who knows no boundaries when it comes to food and clothing! Adrian De Bernardinis is known as the BEAR-NAKED CHEF, and he really does bare it all while whipping up delicious meals! We caught up with this handsome gent on how he’s using his skills to bring folks closer together!
How did you get started in the kitchen? Was cooking a big part of your childhood?
“Growing up in a foodie household, I began cooking at the age of 8, cultivating my passion for authentic Italian cuisine, learning from the loving and masterful hands of my grandmother and mother. By age 11, I had the privilege of working in our family-owned pizzerias and restaurants which honed my kitchen and cooking skills. From those moments on I learned to respect food and ingredients, and to appreciate and develop my love of cooking in a broader sense.”
What made you fall in love food and preparing it?
“From those moments on I learned to respect food and ingredients, and to appreciate and develop my love of cooking in a broader sense. I spent the next decade traveling and working in restaurants in Dallas & NYC to learn more about the art and find what cuisines I was most in love with. I specialize in authentic regional Italian dishes because of it, but my exploration doesn’t stop there, as I experiment with other tastes from across the globe. I also love to cook a dish upon request and make it the ultimate version of what you’ve imagined or remembered. I think at the heart of my experience was discovering what cooking food really does; it brings people together, around a table, transmits your love through this medium, through this people converse. It’s a social activity really. And I love the conversations that spawn from being around a table of people.”
Now, the big question … why cook naked?
“When I cook, I am transported to a plane where nothing else exists or matters. It’s my mediation, my therapy. And once I’m in the zone, it becomes a game of the senses. It is my world to explore, taste, see, feel, experience and ultimately share. It’s a sensual journey for me: from selecting the perfect and freshest ingredients, to the preparation with attention and care, to the sexy plating of what I’ve prepared, as you already know, we eat with our eyes …. Food is just sexy! One of my earliest recollections of it in a sensual context was that iconic scene in 9 1/2 Weeks, where Micky Rourke feeds Kim Bassinger on the floor in her kitchen in front of an open fridge … the penultimate food orgy in cinematic form. So, it made sense that cooking naked was something to take the experience to another level for me, and my viewers.”
And another big question…are you really naked underneath your apron?!
“Oh, of course I’m naked! Lol. I would not be doing justice to my namesake otherwise. I need to keep it a bit PG-13, and I’ve got to protect my bits.”
You clearly care about your body and staying in shape. Do you think the way you cook helps you stay healthier?
“My philosophy is to lead a well balanced life. Eat Whole Foods (nothing processed) and as much as you want and equalize it with fitness and cardio-vascular exercise. I started working out when I was 21 (I’m 43 now). This taught me the importance of taking care of my body and how to maintain it. Knowing and listening to your body is key. And for those who didn’t start as early as I did, it’s never too late.”
The way you cook has obviously been a big part of how you’ve become a household name…so what has this exposure meant for you since you began your cooking series?
“Well, it wasn’t planned but what it did was give me visibility really quickly. Shortly after my went viral starting back in 2015, the gay community welcomed a new gay chef with open arms, offering something different, less provincial and what they were accustomed to on Food Network. I happily represented the community in the food space as one of the first openly gay chefs in America in media. Since then I have been offered the kind of work I only could dream of: traveling gigs across the globe, teaching a cooking course two times a year in Rome, television appearances and media interviews. But I think the biggest gift has been being able to not only share my love for food, but share my story with people and have them connect to me when they think they never would be able. I’m a survivor of conversion therapy and this has become one of my biggest causes. To give a voice to those who were silenced by the shame and fear of sharing their stories. It has become my mission to lift those voices and people who may have shared the same experience and let them know we turn out ok.”
Let’s talk about your Quickies concept that you came up with relation to Scruff. Explain these shorter cooking videos to our readers and where they came about.
“So, I’ve never really been an app guy, I’ve always preferred to meet guys in real life, like at the gym, or a party or supermarket. But when i was living in Madrid a few years ago I decided to get on Scruff and I ended up going on a dinner date with him (no hanky-panky after either). Well, he ended up being a fantastic guy, we started dating and were boyfriends for 2 years. I thought to myself, “Wow! You can actually meet quality dating material on this site if you try.” I only really associated Scruff with casual encounters. So, when I came back stateside to NYC in 2017 I decided to pitch the concept of “Quickies” to their team. I proposed to do a short series of cooking videos about what to cook for a Scruff date: dishes that were fast and easy but looked and tasted sophisticated, but approachable enough for a novice to try in the kitchen and win over a first date. On a larger scale selling their product who were not just looking for sex but love. They adored the concept and we worked together to create the cheeky mini-series that featured fun guests to help me cook these dishes.”
How have you used your platform in ways to inspire the LGBTQ community to get in the kitchen and eat healthier?
“I’ve tried to parlay my philosophy in and out of the kitchen, setting a responsible example. I get lots of emails and dm’s from people asking for help and I happily give them what they’re looking for. I really want people to know they don’t have to restrict or substitute good food for flavorless boring stuff. I want people to know that can cook and eat the food I love to cook, and that its simpler to make and healthier than they think.
Where do you see yourself going with the BEAR NAKED CHEF enterprise?
“I would love to take it to the next level. In the last year with being featured on RHONY and The View, I’ve crossed over from LGTBQ to mainstream which has changed my trajectory. I hope to launch a cookbook and explore the possibility of having an ongoing cooking show either on a streaming app or YouTube. I also plan to start doing more philanthropy for my cause. But most importantly I want to continue having fun with my brand and sharing my recipes and good vibes with the world.”