Fam­ily drama meets sharp uten­sils on Food Net­work’s ‘Fam­ily Restau­rant Ri­vals’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Ontv -

It’s the fam­ily dy­namic in ac­tion – and all that im­plies.

In each episode of “Fam­ily Restau­rant Ri­vals,” pre­mier­ing Mon­day, Aug. 19, on Food Net­work, fam­ily re­la­tion­ships are front and cen­ter as three restau­rant-own­ing clans square off in a se­ries of chal­lenges that re­quire them to over­come ob­sta­cles and sur­prise twists as they take on tasks such as el­e­vat­ing child­hood clas­sics, put­ting their own spin on meat and pota­toes and whip­ping up sin­ful desserts. A panel of judges in­clud­ing Alex Guar­naschelli, Robert Irvine, An­to­nia Lo­faso, Si­mon Ma­jum­dar, Court­ney Rada and Jet Tila de­ter­mine who goes home with the $10,000 grand prize.

Of course, this is fam­ily and co-work­ers who know one an­other some­times too well. And yes, while there may be ten­sions and less-than-ge­nial body lan­guage at times, there is also some­thing else at play that Va­lerie Bertinelli, the show’s host, en­joyed watch­ing.

“The bond and the ca­ma­raderie is re­ally full of love and yet so in­ter­est­ing and volatile and every­thing it could be, every­thing it is at Thanks­giv­ing din­ner,” she says. “And to put those fam­i­lies against each other, vy­ing for their restau­rants and for their fam­i­lies, I found it fas­ci­nat­ing. I mean, it was so much fun to watch these fam­i­lies. They’re so full of love and they’re so com­pet­i­tive and they so want to do well. And watch­ing them cook to­gether in the kitchen is su­per-fun be­cause that’s how I grew up. You know, every­body’s in the kitchen cook­ing.”

The types of restau­rants the con­tes­tants are from run the gamut, Bertinelli says, from low end to high and every­thing from Ital­ian to Asian. And the dishes they’re tasked with creating are wide-rang­ing.

On Mon­day’s opener, the fam­i­lies must cope with sur­prise twists to cre­ate an im­pres­sive noo­dle dish.

“Just think about the different kind of noo­dles there are all around the world,” Bertinelli says, “and then you ask an Ital­ian fam­ily to cook with a different type of noo­dle, ask an Asian fam­ily to cook with a different type of noo­dle and it’s fun to watch. And they’re so in­ven­tive and they’re so cre­ative, and all of these dishes from what the judges tell me were ab­so­lutely de­li­cious and there was not a dud dish at all.”

“We do want to learn about the fam­ily through their cui­sine,” she con­tin­ues, “and what makes this dish speak to who they are as a fam­ily . ... When you think about in­gre­di­ents around the world, I mean ba­si­cally ev­ery na­tion­al­ity has a noo­dle dish. You know, we all have like a skew­ered dish. So you think about it and it’s just about the different in­gre­di­ents that come from the en­vi­ron­ment that they grew up in, that we grew up in and the in­gre­di­ents that you’re fa­mil­iar with. And then to switch up in­gre­di­ents with them is re­ally fun to watch them try to work through that.”

Va­lerie Bertinelli

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