Viewers of Food Network Star surely recall one of this season’s most memorable departures and returns. Chef Luca Della Casa left the show early, but returned with a vengeance after winning Star Salvation. Named one of the show’s finalists, Chef Luca was both popular with fans and, most importantly, talented in the kitchen. We caught up with him to learn how his roots have led him to become the chef he is today.
FP: How did you get your start with cooking?
LDC: I started as a kid at home. My family always loved to cook and entertain.
FP: Do you remember the first dish you ever created?
LDC: I remember one of the first dishes I made was a breakfast for my parents, toasted bread with Nutella spread and a fresh fruit salad!
FP: Sounds like a great breakfast! What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
LDC: I love being a Chef because I love to make people happy and I love food. So I get to cook everyday and I can see people smile when they try my food. That is the best feeling ever.
FP: Tell us about your experience on Food Network Star from casting to filming. What was it like to compete with others?
LDC: Food Network Star has been an amazing experience for me. It has been my main focus for the last six months and it has been stressful at times. The television business is very slow behind the cameras, there is a lot of waiting, but during this competition there was so much at stake that slow moments only gave you more time to over think! I truly believe that during this competition your main competitor is yourself and not the other contestants. Between each contestant has grown a deep friendship that I hope to carry on.
FP: What did you learn from the judges?
LDC: Every judge is different and what works for them not necessarily is gonna work for you too. Even if it seems obvious, the best piece of advice I had from them has been to try to just be myself and not anybody else’s caricature.
FP: Great advice in the kitchen and in life! Now that FNS is over, please give us an update of what you’ve been up to.
LDC: Now my focus goes back to working at Silo and Nosh Restaurants. This is my home and I’m exited to be cooking again. I had a fantastic ride and I hope other opportunities will present themselves so I can keep doing something on television.
FP: When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in San Antonio or other cities/states you’ve visited.
LDC: San Antonio is becoming an important culinary destination and because of that I love to try any new place and support the local Chefs. I think that New York, Chicago and Seattle have been my favorite culinary destinations. I’m looking forward to visiting Portland.
FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂
LDC: I love french fries and mayonnaise. I could eat it everyday!!
FP: Can’t go wrong with that! Any tips for novice chefs?
LDC: Be humble, always. Be prepare to work very long hours and always taste your food!
FP: If you hadn’t become a chef, what would you be doing? What are some of your non-cooking hobbies/interests?
LDC: I have five dogs that I love extremely. If I hadn’t become a Chef I would have like to have a rescue dog camp!
FP: Seems like a great fit, but we’re glad you went the Chef route! 🙂 Thanks, Chef Luca, for your time. We wish you much continued success!