Luca Looks Back on a Wild Ride

by in Interviews, August 12, 2014

Luca Della Casa, Food Network Star Season 10Italian-born Luca Della Casa came into the competition with his heritage as a point of view, and while his culinary offerings were strong, he struggled with camera work so much so that he was first sent home in Episode 2. After winning Star Salvation, however, he remained long enough to earn a spot in the final three, and he was ultimately named the first runner-up of the contest.

Star Talk caught up with Luca the day of the finale to talk about his time on the show, what he would cook Giada if he got the chance and who he thought was the most-intimidating mentor. Read his interview below.

Star Talk: Luca, making it to the final two is an incredible achievement and you obviously fought to get here. Was this competition everything you thought it would be?
Luca Della Casa: Oh, absolutely and even more. It's been a fantastic journey. It started good in the first episode and then it went south, so I thought I lost it. And then I had the opportunity to come back through Star Salvation and find my way back. I'm so excited about being here right now.

Let’s talk about coming back and fighting your way back on Star Salvation. What did you learn that you took back to the competition with you? Because everyone saw a huge change.
LDC: The most-important thing was getting more confident. And the mentors during Star Salvation really helped me realize that.

Considering the mentors on the show and the mentors on Star Salvation, who do you find most intimidating?
LDC: I think Bobby Flay. He is such a talented chef, and I have so much respect for him that he was definitely the more intimidating for me.

Luca Della CasaWas there any one piece of advice that he gave to you that you’ll carry on with you in the future?
LDC: Yes. I think that what I got from him was trying to be natural. Be yourself, not to try and be someone that you're not. That really helped me.

Looking back on the episodes, was there one cringe-worthy moment you look back on and go: "Ugh! Why did I do that?"
LDC: Oh, there are plenty of those moments, you know! The challenges are very fast; you don't have a lot of time, so you react fast, but thinking about it later, you change things here and there constantly. But at the end, it works out pretty good, no matter what. So I'm happy with it.

Has anything changed since the competition started for you, in your professional life?
LDC: Oh, absolutely. I get so much recognition back at home and at the restaurant also. I go to the grocery and people stop me and they shout: "Oh, Luca, I really love you! I would like a picture with you. You really inspire my kids to jump in the kitchen and cook with us." It's amazing.

If you could make Giada a meal, what would you cook her?
LDC: Well, probably my special recipe: gnocchi with rabe sauce. It's a specialty of my family, and I'm sure she would love it.

What can we expect from you in the future?
LDC: Well, I don't know, but it looks like the future is bright and amazing and exciting, so I'm just ready to jump into whatever is next.

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Comments (41)

  1. Karen says:

    You were awesome and definitely should have won the title. I truly enjoyed the stories about you and your family growing up and would have loved to have more of your favorite recipes. Your integrity, kindness and warmth were a refreshing change from many of the current FN stars. I applaud your ability to speak 3 languages and love your Italian accent.

    Wishing you all of the best in the future.

  2. Bill Potenziani says:

    It is clear that most of the comments above thought as I did that Luca should have won a show. Lenny is crass and I will not watch anything he will be on. Like last year's winner, Food Network missed out on the best choice AGAIN.

  3. MSgt5J0X1 says:

    I would have liked Luca to win for a few reasons: (1) FN doesn't have anyone I care to watch with a POV geared toward Italian food, so I think Luca would be a good fit. (2) He knows how to cook and he demonstrated he can be good on camera. (3) He's from Italy, so I believe his dishes would reflect "real" Italian food as opposed to the Americanized version. I would like to see Nicole get a show, but I liked Luca a little bit better. Allegations of being a sexist, racist, homophobic pig aside, I just don't see Lenny bringing anything to the table that we haven't seen before. Bad choice FN viewers -- either that or the allegations of rigging the vote are true...

  4. I don't know how you didn't win Luca, I hope to see you with your own show soon! I won't be watching Food Network until then. Good luck to you!

  5. they should give both Lenny and Luca a show.

  6. Guest says:

    In Season 11 can we please NOT have Justin Warner do any recaps at all? NO previous winner should be doing a column or review of contenders? Why not? Because viewers will cave-in and accept whatever an "authority" says. The comeback reply to this, is that: "no. people will do their own thinking." But, they really won't. Even if they say otherwise, they probably won't.

    At least far, far too many of them won't. They didn't last time.
    It's fine to listen to Bobby's, Giada's and Alton's evaluations in the judging. We don't need any more. Sometimes, it's even good to question them., too.

    Aside from that reason above, Maria Russo and Sarah DeHeer are both doing a wonderful job of neutral, and informative writing as it is. Keep them.

    If any previous winner must give feedback, they can either: A) confine it t THEIR OWN Twitter or Facebook page, but not in the FN Star Blog.

    If Bobby, Giada or Alton decide to bow out of judging, DO NOT use anyone from Chopped at all. And no Fieri or Justin or anyone from the Kitchen. Not Michael Symon, either.
    If you must have new judges, I would select from: Tyler Florence, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Fuller, Damaris Phillips, Ina Garten or Ming Tsai.

    But the main point is that while people are still competing, that the Star-blog should be as un-influenced by previous winner's as possible. Thanks.

  7. GetItTogether says:

    Can anyone take season 11 seriously?
    Will they even cook this year or will it be a bunch of senseless challenges and sales-pitches? Cook something! I don't care what store anyone bought their shoes at. I'm not interested in cooks sabotaging others. I'm interested in who's best given the same tools in a fair fight.

    Will the people posting online focus on who cooks best--FIRST--and then worry about liking them, or will it be an immediate who-is-likeable personality contest and cooking be damned? Pathetic. I'm out. You can all argue about whether there should be a vegetarian show, again, or who might be beauty competition to Giada. Bleeaugh. Cook something!

    Alton Brown should be replaced as a judge. Too sarcastic and abrupt.

    It's such a pathetic joke anymore. Food Network should learn a serious lesson from Master Chef Canada. They've got the right idea.