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Meet the Real Star of ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry'

See what Gabi Moskowitz, the real-life chef and blogger who inspired the series, has on her plate this season.

Meet the Real Star of ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry'
Source: ABC Family
Meet the Real Star of ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry'
Source: Gabi Moskowitz

When you're just starting out in your career, being young and hungry go hand-in-hand. In Gabi Moskowitz's case, chasing her dreams meant serving up easy, affordable recipes for those in her same boat that eventually led to entertaining—with a hit sitcom. The Broke Ass Gourmet blogger, whose real-life journey inspired the ABC Family series Young & Hungry, dishes about her experiences from just starting out to all she has on her plate now—just in time for the show's season two premiere tonight. 

What inspired you to start your blog? "At the end of 2008, I wanted to start a blog that would address a big issue at the time: the stock market had just crashed, and a lot of my friends were losing their jobs. San Francisco is such a food town, we’re so obsessed with food here, and people didn’t really want to stop going out to eat. To me, it seemed like the most obvious thing would be for everyone to learn how to cook. I started a blog with an emphasis on eating well without spending a lot of money. I’m super into rustic, easy-to-make, fun-to-eat, home-style comfort food with a healthy California spin." 

It’s hard to be in your early 20s in a big city trying to make it."

–Gabi Moskowitz

What is your favorite food? "I am someone who develops intense crushes on foods. I get really interested in understanding something, learning how to cook it and trying all these different versions. If there is one thing I just can’t get enough of, it would be Chinese dumplings. All dim sum but specifically dumplings—I love them so much."

Meet the Real Star of ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry'
Source: Gabi Moskowitz

How closely is the series inspired by your life? "We kept the name and some of the characteristics. [For instance,] Gabi’s apartment on the show is a pretty rough replica of mine. The story developed a bit. It was about this woman who is a personal chef to an entrepreneur in San Francisco, which was something I had done in my early days—never for anyone as cute as Jonathan Sadowski. It’s very much an original story; it’s not my exact life story in any way."

How much input do you have on the series? "The first season I was an executive consultant, now I’m a producer on the show. The cool thing about my relationship to the TV show is I’m not in LA hands-on. I go down for a lot of tapings and advise on things having to do with food and San Francisco, but I’ve been able to maintain my life as a food writer, even though all of this is going on."

Meet the Real Star of ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry'
Source: ABC Family

I always laugh because Gabi Diamond is running around cooking in five-inch stilettos and adorable mini skirts—I definitely don’t wear that in the kitchen."

–Gabi Moskowitz

How do you relate to Gabi Diamond? "I’m about ten years older than Emily Osment, so it’s set at a slightly different time in her life. One thing that is definitely true about both Gabi Diamond and me is the really strong desire to make an impression on the world. Despite the fact that some aspects of her life are kind of a mess, she really believes in her ability to cook and wants to make something of herself. There was awhile when I was young, broke, dating lots of guys and I had no idea what was to come, but I also knew there was something bigger. I just went along with my intuition and trying new things, and it led to a lot of really great stuff for me. As Lena Dunham [and] 2 Broke Girls have shown us, it’s hard to be in your early 20s in a big city trying to make it. It’s an exciting, fun time in your life, but you have to be able to do this combination of trusting yourself even when you feel like you have no reason to and continuing to work hard even when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I really relate to her situation and the stuff that she deals with."

And how about her on-screen wardrobe? "I always laugh because Gabi Diamond is running around cooking in five-inch stilettos and adorable mini skirts. I think she looks so cute, but I definitely don’t wear that in the kitchen. I’m not a fashion-y sort of person, so I don’t have any say in it but I specifically love how much personality we’re able to build into her outfits. The aprons are such a fun way for us to give Gabi unique style beyond clothing. I have an extensive apron collection myself—it’s the kind of thing I love buying and receive as gifts a lot. ModCloth has really adorable [options]. You’ll always find me in the kitchen in a cute apron, but I will most likely be wearing sneakers, jeans and a T-shirt underneath with my hair pulled back into a messy ponytail."

Gabi's Five Items to Always Have On-Hand:
  • 1

    Canned Beans

    "Beans are a great filling for vegetarian tacos, burritos or quesadillas. White beans are great to add to pasta for a little extra protein and fiber, and all beans can be pureed with a bit of garlic, olive oil, lemon or lime and a touch of salt for a quick, healthy riff on hummus."

  • 2

    Dried Pasta

    "I usually go with long-strand pastas like fettuccine, spaghetti or linguine, since they can go in either an Italian direction or an Asian noodle direction. If you're gluten-free, there is no better noodle than Tinkyada brown rice pasta. I'm not gluten-free, but I still use it all the time—so good."

  • 3

    Whole Chicken Legs

    "Keep a set of these inexpensive, delicious babies in your freezer and a good meal is never far away. They're super cheap—usually $2 per pound or so—but they're the best-tasting part of the bird: crispy skin, juicy meat and so easy to cook. Just add salt, pepper and maybe some fresh herbs, then roast them, grill them or pan fry in a touch of olive oil."

  • 4

    Greens You Can Eat Cooked or Raw

    "I have a small refrigerator, so I like ingredients that can do double duty. I'll buy a couple bunches of kale and eat it everyday: raw in a hearty salad, roasted with olive oil, sauteed in a little butter with lemon and garlic, crisped into chips—the possibilities are endless."

  • 5

    Half-and-Half

    "It might seem like a random ingredient to have, but if you like to cook, keep half-and-half on hand. Obviously it's great for coffee, but it's also a lighter way to thicken sauces, soups and curries than adding heavy cream. And it can be diluted to make milk: just mix equal parts half-and-half and water, and you've got low-fat milk."

Tune in to the season premiere of Young & Hungry tonight at 8pm EDT on ABC Family. 

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