Cousins John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino run a New Jersey-based family construction company where they take average kitchens and transform them into extraordinary spaces on HGTV’s Cousins Undercover. But can they cook? In their all-new ULIVE series, the Cousins share family recipes from grilled venison to grilled peaches all while making you feel like you’re right there cooking with them. It’s easy to see why they call the series “Chill & Grill”— they always have a drink in hand, most of the time they’re shirtless, and they fire up some amazing food. Read our interview with the cousins below to find out who’s the better cook, who’s the bigger eater and what recipes are their favorites.
How would you describe the atmosphere of your ULIVE series “Chill & Grill”?
Anthony and John: We wanted to show everyone exactly what goes on down the shore. Whether we’re filming or not, we would be doing exactly what you see—just having fun making good food and having a drink. We wanted to show everyone quick and fun recipes that don’t take a long time to make and allow time to enjoy yourself.
Why did you decide to create a backyard grilling series?
John: Since we have been kids, we have been going down to my aunt and uncle’s house in Long Beach Island. Being outside and cooking on the grill has been one of our passions that we have always looked forward to every summer.
Anthony: Having a great BBQ and relaxing with a couple of beers is the perfect weekend down at the Jersey Shore.
Everyone knows you guys can create amazing kitchen remodels, but some might be skeptical about what you two can cook in the kitchen. What would you say to them?
John: We are two Italian guys—they should not be skeptical of our cooking. We love to create beautifully designed kitchens, but we better know our way around the kitchen if we’re designing them.
Anthony: When the show Kitchen Cousins started, everyone thought it was a cooking show! We figured since so many people thought that, we might as well get in the kitchen and show them our skills.
In your short videos, you grill up an entree, create a side dish and mix up a cocktail. Where did that interest in cooking come from?
John: Cooking is a passion that runs in our family. My brother is chef and my Aunt Francine is an amazing cook who has been feeding us since we were babies. I have learned over the years from watching my mom, brother and aunt. Holidays always get crazy and food is out of control so you learn some skills. If you aren’t helping make the food, then you are doing the dishes!
Anthony: When you are Italian like us, food is not just something you eat, but a way of life. We have learned a lot from our family and to be able to showcase them on ULIVE is exciting for us.
What are your favorite recipes?
John: I love making beer can chicken. It’s a great meal and so easy to make. You can always change up the flavor of the chicken depending on the type of beer you use.
Anthony: My favorite recipe is my burgers. They are fun, easy to make and are packed with flavor and heat. Anything spicy, I love!
Who’s the better cook?
John: (Laughs) Well that is a loaded question!
Anthony: Both of us can hold our own in the kitchen. I don’t think we’re ready for an executive chef position anytime soon, but we love to experiment.
Who eats more?
John: We like to have hot dog contests to see who can take down more dogs when we are down the shore. I can do okay, but Anthony has the iron stomach and holds the title when it comes to eating more.
How do guys approach cooking in the kitchen together compared to renovating kitchens?
John: Anthony and I are a team. Whether it’s taking down walls or creating our custom burgers, we are always well prepared for the task in front of us.
The Cousins keep track of their favorite recipes on index cards and stash them in a box for later use. They’ve opened that box to us by sharing delicious grilling recipes and refreshing cocktails in a fun, relatable way. Watch two episodes of the series that premiered today—John Colaneri Flexes His Margarita Muscles and Chicken in the Front, Party in the Back—and stay tuned for more recipes as “Chill & Grill” continues to air on ULIVE.
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Written by DIY Network Intern Hannah Mills, who says: “I am lucky to work with creative and brilliant people as I learn about upcycling, projects and design as a summer intern. On my off time, I love to explore this new area I’m calling home in search of great food and cool swimming holes.”