Frankie Celenza Always Keeps These Ingredients In His Kitchen

Getting personal in the kitchen and sharing inexpensive yet tasty meals hasn't been a struggle for Frankie Celenza. The chef has worked his way up from appearing in YouTube cooking segments to being a bonafide, Emmy Award-winning television celebrity on his show "Struggle Meals," appearing on Tastemade. "Struggle Meals" caters to cooks on a budget, featuring recipes that are satisfying yet bargain-priced (via Celenza's website). And don't think these meals are simply rice and beans or a Ramen-based soup; we're talking recipes like cherry tomato and fennel pasta, risotto with salt-cured egg yolk, and cheddar rosemary apple tart.

Celenza told Beyondish that he started thinking about cooking such delectable meals after his mother stopped preparing meals for him as he grew older. "I started cooking for myself and friends when I left home. Growing up with great food my mom made, I didn't realize how good I had it until the cafeteria was my main source of sustenance," Celenza said in the article. As he learned in no time, there's a few essential ingredients you must have in your kitchen at all times.

Frankie Celenza's six essential ingredients

According to The Orange County Register, "Struggle Meals" came about after the hashtag #strugglemeals started trending online, and a Tastemade staffer had the idea to create a TV show around it. "We had a bunch of meetings and we knew what we wanted it to look like. We knew the type of food that we wanted to do," Celenza said in the article. One tip straight from the show is to always have a drawer filled with pre-portioned condiments that Celenza calls the "packet drawer," which he says is fundamental to recipe preparation.

Beyond the "packet drawer," Frankie Celenza has a few ingredients that are must-haves in his pantry including extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, dried pasta, and canned and dried beans, as he told Beyondish. "It never gets lower than these, and yet with them I can make 50 different dishes," Celenza said. As for his own favorite foods to prepare and eat, he said pastasciutta is a perpetual favorite, but his go-to quarantine comfort food has been veggie burgers.