Oh to be John Catucci. I dream of it sometimes. The opportunity to travel across Canadaâ€”with the occasional stop in the U.S.â€”sampling Â things roasted, broiled, barbecued, grilled and steamed? It’s worth what it would do to my waistline.
Catucci is back for Season 4 of Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! on Friday night with the same formula that’s worked for the past three. In it, the affable, comedian, writer and actor drops by a trio of eateriesâ€”Pizzeria Via Mercante in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood,Â Moonshine Barbecue in Montreal andÂ The Cheshire Cat in Carp, Ont., outside of Ottawaâ€”to munch and mingle with the staff and customers.
I wiped away slobber as Catucci and Romolo Salvati worked their way through pizza and pasta atÂ Pizzeria Via Mercante, exclaimed at the size of the smoked ribs and “totini” (tater tots smothered in pulled pork, gravy and cheese) at Moonshine Barbecue and stared in wonder at the pub fare sampled at The Cheshire Cat.
A die-hard fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I at first dismissed YGEH as a cheap Canadian rip-off of what Guy Fieri’s been doing for years. How wrong I was. Yes, Catucci is travelling to restaurants, talking to people and eating plates of food, but his sense of humour, shameless mugging for the camera and open-eyed wonder at the foods placed in front of him makes this project unique. And it’s proved to be quite the triptych of dining moments for me. Thanks to YGEH, I’ve added several fantastic places to chow down to my contacts list and I’m look forward to adding a bunch more thanks to this newest season of 26 episodes.
You Gotta Eat Here! airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network.