Food Network's latest series features a lot of talent, flavor and family dynamics. Valerie Bertinelli hosts the network's delicious new competition Family Food Showdown, and this show is unlike any that have aired on Food Network before.
The series centers around two families facing off in an intense, three-round challenge where their culinary and communication skills are tested. According to Bertinelli, a lot of heightened drama comes with family teams competing in front of television cameras.
Why Valerie Bertinelli was made to host Food Network's new show Family Food Showdown
Bertinelli is no stranger to being in front of the camera, though. Many may recognize the actress from One Day at a Time, Hot in Cleveland or from her hosting gigs on Food Network with Valerie's Home Cooking and the Kids Baking Championships. Now, the Delaware native is hosting a show that suits her as well as spaghetti suits meatballs.
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"This is just a perfect part for me," Bertinelli says. "It speaks to who I am. It's how I learned to cook, it's how I got the passion for what I do now- through my family."
Testing the limits of family relationships is already difficult enough, but add a timed challenge, panel of judges and TV cameras, and you've got a recipe for one intense competition show. "It definitely heightens the drama, you really see the family dynamics come out, and then when we get to the second round and all the surprises start happening - it truly does come out."
The surprises Bertinelli refers to are quite common with cooking competitions. Other notable shows throw in surprise ingredients, limit contestant's resources or have them come up with insane creations on the spot. It not only makes for a great show, but it also keeps everyone on their toes. Family Food Showdown is no different, and Bertinelli admits that the surprises were so intense, she wanted to film another installment to the series before the first 13 episodes aired.
"I was hoping we could get another 13 in before anybody sees the show, because what happens after the first round is really shocking for the families," says Bertinelli. "I don't want to give it away, but jaws dropped every single day."
"Of course with any competition show, there is always a back story that makes you root for certain contestants or connect with others."she adds. "Casting found amazing families. There really should be multiple awards for casting in this department. When you see the families really get into it, sometimes your heart breaks, sometimes you're laughing hysterically. It's everything a family can get into in your own life and you're watching it on television."
Aside from Bertinelli hosting, there is also an impressive panel of judges, many of whom return for multiple episodes in the series. Kardea Brown, Clinton Kelly, Antonia Lofaso, Daphne Oz, Jamika Pessoa, Christian Petroni and many more all appear on Family Food Showdown alongside Bertinelli and ultimately choose the fate of the culinary-loving families.
"We get our judges coming back a few times, they are just really good at getting to the nitty gritty about why a dish works or why it doesn't without being hurtful. They're very compassionate," says Bertinelli. "There's a lot of fun people who have come on and really know their stuff."
The first round of the competition requires families to cook a dish that symbolizes who they are as a family, which isn't as easy as it sounds, according to Bertinelli. When asked what dish she would cook for the first round, the Food Network vet exclaimed, "Oh gosh, I don't know. Lasagna keeps coming to my head because that was the very first thing I learned how to cook. I think I was 9 or 10, but that speaks to me. It depends on which family members I'm with and how we would want to explain who our family is. It's not an easy task."
Family Food Showdown premieres on Food Network March 3 at 8 p.m.