You may know Bill Rancic from his days on The Apprentice or maybe you know him for being an incredibly successful entrepreneur and being a bestselling author. Or quite possibly, maybe you just know him as being Giuliana's hubby (kidding…sort of). Nonetheless, you know Bill Rancic. His newest venture is taking place on the Food Network with the show he'll be hosting called “Kitchen Casino” and since it seems like everything this man touches turns to gold, it is sure to be a hit. Before the big premiere goes down tonight, we talked to Bill to find out exactly how the show works and if our money's on it, we're gambling on it being a straight up win.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): So I read the premise of Kitchen Casino but I'd love for you to break down the concept of the show in your words.
Bill Rancic: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm a huge fan of cooking shows. Cooking competition shows especially. This show is different than any show I've seen because it combines these amazing chefs in the kitchen and they're competing while we integrate these great casino game challenges. We basically have four rounds. We have a slot machine that dictates the theme or the category of the dish that they'll prepare. Then we have chef roulette where the chefs are competing and then midway through the competition or halfway through it, the entire kitchen spins like a roulette wheel. So if you and I were competing, the kitchen spins and I may end up with your dish in front of me and you may end up with my dish in front of you. Then you have to then take that dish over, prepare it, and then show it in front of the judges! You don't know what I may have put in there too! I may have sabotaged it and you'll end up with an inedible ingredient. There is certainly a lot of strategy in that round! You may see some horns sprouting out of people heads in that round! [Laughs.] Then we have chef poker where basically, they play poker to determine what ingredient they have to cook with. Then here is the kicker! At the end of it, you can go through this entire competition and win every round but we give you the chance to double or triple your money. Or, you can go home with nothing. So when people's greed sets in, just like in Vegas, they don't know when to say when! They may have ten grand but they want to go for thirty and take the last challenge. But there is then the chance that they go home with nothing.
Oh my god that's so evil because of the temptation!
Oh yeah! They can see that money! It's like they are already spending that money in their heads because they get greedy. We throw so many curveballs at these chefs and still, they are able to create these amazing dishes. I was just in awe watching these chefs perform. I think people are really going to love the show. I mean, it's so unique and fast paced. It's also actually educational as well because you can watch these chefs turn these mundane ingredients into a spectacular tasting dishes. It's magical to see.
Are all of the contestant's professional chefs or are some of them self-taught?
Well that's the thing, some are self-taught but some of them have incredible pedigrees so it runs the gamut. People who worked in restaurants versus people working a catering company out of their basement, it's just shocking to see how talented some of these folks are. We also have a rotating sets of judges that are all very impressive as well.
I can't help but to think about those poor judges who might have to eat a sabotaged dish. Have you ever done a run through as a mock contestant?
[Laughs.] Yeah I did run through it, yes. We did a segment for E! News before we wrapped and I had to compete with Alicia Quarles who is one of the correspondents. She and I went head to head in Kitchen Casino and it was tough let me tell you! I was sweating! It was great for me to do because I got to experience what the contestants go through but boy, I would not want to be in that kitchen competing like they did! Especially when you have all of that money on the line.
I can imagine! You and Giuliana are so playfully competitive, I swear it'd make for a great episode on your reality show with you two going toe to toe.
[Laughs.] You know what? Cooking is not a trait that she inherited from her family. My wife was born in Italy and everyone in her family is an amazing cook but we always joke that it's a generational skipping trait. For some reason, she can't even boil water.
Ha! That's so mean and awesome. Well then I assume that you do all of the cooking at your house so, do you think that your next book could possibly be a cookbook?
You never know! I am in the restaurant business and I own RPM Italian and RPM Steak in Chicago and we have an RPM Italian opening in DC. A lot of people are wanting to get the recipes because they just love the food there so, you never know! Maybe a cookbook is in the future!
Learn more about Bill on his website www.BillRancic.com and follow him on Twitter @BillRancic. Make sure you tune in to catch the premiere Kitchen Casino on Food Network Monday April 7th at 9pm/8c. For more info on the show, go to www.FoodNetwork.com.
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for sixteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.