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‘Ciao House’: Food Network’s Newest Italian Cooking Competition

The Food Network is set to launch a brand-new cooking competition called ‘Ciao House,’ an eight-episode series where ten chefs will show off their Italian culinary expertise under one roof as they are challenged to live and cook together in a Tuscan villa. Hosted by Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Tuscan-born food expert Gabe Bertaccini, the contestants will compete for the opportunity to learn the art of Italian cooking from world-renowned master chefs in Italy. ‘Ciao House’ will premiere on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c and will be available on Discovery+ shortly after.

The series promises to be a very authentic showing of Italian tradition. Per Food Network’s description of the program, “from real-life nonnas showcasing how they make pasta from scratch to a lesson with the head butcher of a three centuries-old family butcher business, each challenge is accompanied by a local experience steeped in tradition.”  These traditions will include three-course truffle and wine pairings, a visit to an Italian cheese cave, in addition to the creation of a wild boar dish.

In the first episode, the following chefs will be tasked with conveying what Italian cuisine means to them by creating a dish that reflects their culinary identity:

Omar Ashley (Avenel, New Jersey); Corey Becker (Brooklyn, New York); Saba Duffy (Framingham, Massachusetts); Trenica Johnson (Houston, Texas); Jess Mahoney (Los Angeles, California); Preston Paine (Dallas, Texas); Sarah Raffetto (New York, New York); Justin Robinson (Atlanta, Georgia); Natalia Rosario (Chicago, Illinois) and Matt Wasson (Staten Island, New York).

These competitors will have the ability to pick their own teams and each week, the losing team must vote off one of their own members. This means that by the second episode, where Alex and Gabe bring in authentic Italian nonnas to demonstrate how to make handmade pasta, only nine contestants will remain. By the June 4th finale, just two chefs will be left standing to compete for the grand prize.

Now, let’s talk about the villa. The 14th-century Tuscan villa is located in Borgo San Lorenzo, which is just over 10 miles northeast of Florence. 

When the hosts began searching for the villa, as portrayed on HGTV’s House Hunters International, Bertaccini had specific criteria in mind for the space. He wanted a house that instilled a sense of family, while also showcasing historical Italian design. Given that the home would be the set of a cooking competition, a professional kitchen and large dining area were also high on his wish list.

It is safe to say that their selection fits the bill. The stunning 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom Renaissance-style estate features domed ceilings, original frescos, and a sizeable swimming pool. The bathrooms are no less luxurious, containing marble bathtubs, chandeliers, and plush couches.

The kitchen is also exactly to Bertaccini’s specifications, stocked high with an assortment of pasta shapes and fresh produce.

10 contestants. 2 world-renowned hosts. 1 master chef. It all starts tonight at 9:00 PM EST on Food Network.


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