He wanted to prove he’s actually nice.
“I want people to leave realizing I’m much nicer than they make me look on my TV show,” Conant told USA TODAY, ahead of his live cooking demonstration.
While making a ricotta gnudi for the crowd, the TV personality showed off not only his cooking skills, but also his sense of humor.
“I can see you laughing that this is disgusting! It’s really good I promise you!” he said at one point, while piling on butter.
According to Conant, live events like these give fans “a little bit of an insight.”
“The difference is that’s me unedited,” he said. “I like to have fun. I’m the biggest clown in the room whenever I’m shooting a show or I’m in the restaurants or I’m just hanging out. So I feel like it’s a little bit of a glimpse to see who I am in actuality.”
Conant was one of a handful of famous foodies at Los Angeles Center Studios for the festival Saturday afternoon. For three hours, guests mingled in the hot sun, sipping wine and munching on dishes at the downtown venue.
The USA TODAY Wine and Food Experience tour kicked off Sept. 7 in Brooklyn, New York, and has since had stops in Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Arizona. Its last two stops will take place in Chicago and Naples, Florida, this month.
According to festival organizers, 30 vendors and about 2,000 people were in attendance at the LA event.
After their meet-and-greet, the former tag-team got real about wine, with Nikki sharing some NSFW tasting advice.
“You know, I’m going to just refer to this, and I don’t know if this is PG or not: It’s like sex,” Nikki said, while describing the importance of slowing down to drink wine. “You need the foreplay. You need the excitement. You need the seducing. And then you fall in love. That’s the same with wine.”
Brie recommended people try as many wines as possible to hone their tastes.
“You go around, you try different wine, and you actually realize what your palate is. This one’s snooty,” she said referencing her sister. (“No, I appreciate the finer things in life!” Nikki replied. “It doesn’t mean I’m snooty!”)
In addition to Conant, Antoni Porowski, the food and wine specialist on Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” also offered a cooking demo.
While making latkes, Porowski answered crowd members’ wide-ranging questions, including which game show he’d love to compete on (“I think I would really kick (expletive) in ‘Jeopardy’ “), his favorite Harry Potter movie (“Prisoner of Azkaban” is “the most artistic”), his favorite book (“The Little Prince”), his favorite LA restaurant (Republique), the perfect dish for impressing a new romantic interest (“Always pasta. Maybe it’s because I watched ‘Lady and the Tramp’ as a kid”) and what dish he thinks everyone should know how to make (a “sexy as hell” French omelette).
Porowski also dished on what culinary trend he thinks can be shelved: unnecessary food coloring.
“I feel like it’s okay for cakes and for cupcakes, but I don’t like it when it’s applied to savory food,” he said. “My case in point: I saw rye bread at Walmart, and they had like a rainbow swirl color in it. And I said, ‘Why would you do that?’ Like, I’m part of the LGBTQIA plus community, and I think that’s tacky. Your bread should not be rainbow color.”
Though Porowski values eating well, he also stressed the importance of a balanced diet.
“If you only eat healthy all the time, you don’t appreciate being healthy,” he said. “And if you eat (expletive) all the time, you don’t appreciate junk food. Like, if you eat pizza everyday, then pizza doesn’t taste good!”
According to Conant, one of the festival’s biggest draws was seeing people come together.
“Any food and wine event, any of these events, people get together, and there’s this overall conviviality, where people are connecting and having these connections over wine and food,” he said. “It’s the best people who love wine and food. What else is there?”