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John Catucci returns to Food Network Canada with Big Food Bucket List

In June 2017, Food Network Canada made it official: they had cancelled You Gotta Eat Here! after five seasons. I, like many, was upset. It seemed like the series, with host John Catucci, could go on much, much longer.

But all is forgiven. This is 2019, and Catucci is back on Food Network Canada with a new series. Big Food Bucket List, from the same production company as YGEH, finds Catucci gamely travelling around sampling food and interacting with the folks who make and taste them. What sets Big Food Bucket List—bowing Friday with back-to-back episodes at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT—apart from his previous project? We asked Catucci.

Before we talk about Big Food Bucket List, let’s go back. I just want to get your reaction to You Gotta Eat Here’s cancellation.
John Catucci: You know what? It was mixed feelings. It was hard because I loved shooting the show, and I had an amazing crew, and the production company was fantastic. It was just nice to grow with everybody. So, that was definitely hard. There was part of me that was like, ‘OK, I could do with a little break. I could do with being home for a while.’ It had been five years of being on the road pretty steady. So, it was kind of like mixed emotions. I mean, definitely sad. I don’t think it hit me until a good maybe month after.

Big Food Bucket List is on Food Network. It’s starring you. It’s from Lone Eagle Entertainment. You’re eating food. What’s setting this apart from You Gotta Eat Here?
JC: The main thing is the style of restaurant that we’re hitting. On You Gotta Heat Here, we were doing a lot of diner stuff and Mom and Pop shops. We’re still doing the Mom and Pop stuff. That exists. But the restaurants are elevated a little bit. On You Gotta Eat Here, we never talked about the idea of having a farm-to-table kind of place. It’s just like, ‘No, no, no, we’re going to do burgers.’ We’re really celebrating that food, or celebrating a lot of farm-to-table restaurants, and celebrating restaurants that are doing really unique and interesting dishes. If the restaurant makes a sandwich that is completely out of this world, that’s the thing we’re going to go for. Is that dish something you want to knock off your bucket list.

We’re also travelling all across North America, so it opens up a different market for the show and for myself. It was pretty cool, man. It was pretty exciting. I forgot what it was like to start a new show because it happened such a long time ago. It was a lot of, ‘OK, what’s the show going to be? Do we like this? Do we not like this? We definitely don’t like this.’

The first two episodes are back-to-back, where you’re in Chicago and then Toronto. What are some of the cities that you go to?
JC: We’re going back to Vancouver and Calgary and Halifax. We’re bouncing all over the States, too. We’re going to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Austin, and we got to go to Lafayette. I went to Houston for the first time, St. Louis, San Diego. We got to go to San Diego and L.A., so that was pretty wild. San Diego was just like shooting right down the street from the ocean here. We’re like, ‘OK, we’re on a five-minute break, we’re just walking down to the ocean right now.’

Big Food Bucket List airs Fridays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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John Catucci shares his Big Food Bucket List beginning May 24 on Food Network Canada

From a media release:

This spring, Food Network Canada takes viewers on a one-of-a-kind food adventure across North America in the new Canadian original series from Corus Studios, Big Food Bucket List (14x30min). Fan-favourite host and comedian John Catucci (You Gotta Eat Here!) takes viewers along as he checks the most buzz-worthy, crazy, delicious food and must-see culinary stops off his bucket list. Big Food Bucket List premieres Friday, May 24 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Viewers know John Catucci from his five seasons as host of the Food Network Canada hit series, You Gotta Eat Here!. Now he’s back for another helping of over-the-top, delicious food, but this time around, he’s on mission to find highly-recommended favourites to check off his Big Food Bucket List. Each episode, John visits three restaurants across North America and tries their must-eat meals. Then he hits the kitchen to lend a hand and learn how the chefs make their mind-blowing creations.

In the premiere back-to-back episodes, “Rolling in the Deep Dish” and “More Than Meats the Eye”, airing May 24 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, John dives into the original deep dish pizza in Chicago, Ill. and learns how to make a mile-high pizza pie. In Toronto, Ont., he’s off to feast on a burger with a sweet pineapple bun and jerk lobster fit for a king at a spectacular Jamaican-Chinese joint. Then John visits Louisville, Ky. to try out some truly authentic Kentucky fried chicken at a world-famous historic location before heading to Boston, Mass. to dig into the ultimate surf and turf burger topped with a juicy lobster tail, as well as mind-blowing fried lobster and waffles.

This season, John will try drool-worthy dishes that include an Instagram-famous, ooey-gooey spaghetti grilled cheese from Irvine, Calif., seared scallops straight from the sea in Halifax, N.S., hand-rolled pasta perfection in Vancouver, B.C., and authentic New Orleans, La. fried chicken said to be Beyoncé’s favourite. John also satisfies his sweet tooth with treats like authentic New Orleans Bananas Foster, sinfully delicious hazelnut chocolate French toast from Calgary, Atla., and fluffy blueberry pancakes from a Nova Scotian sugar shack. Along the way, John also takes part in some unforgettable food adventures including a decadent medieval feast where no forks are allowed, learning the tricks of the trade at an apple orchard, getting smoked meat lessons from a pit master, and venturing to an authentic Canadian sugar shack.

Tourism Nova Scotia joins as a sponsor for three episodes, providing John with restaurant recommendations for bucket list-worthy dishes that highlight the province’s rich culture and fresh and local way of life.

Big Food Bucket List is produced by Lone Eagle Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Food Network Canada.

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Comments and queries for the week of May 4

As with so many others, I am so upset that You Gotta Eat Here! has been cancelled! What are they thinking? Bring this show back! There are so many other restaurants out there that need to be shown and it’s not the same over and over again, such as Top Chef contest shows. Listen to the people who have written in! And they are only a fraction of people that feel the same way. —Lyn


 

Really glad that there is going to be a Season 12 of this totally addictive series. In the UK and we have just seen Episode 17 and IMHO it had one of the toughest storylines ever with the conflict of morals and ethics set against the personal tragedy of Julia’s miscarriage. Having read the sneak peek of Episode 18, what is in store for next season? Will Emily Grace return to full the emptiness in George Crabtree ‘s heart? Will miss Hart’s manipulative scheming turn out to be the tip of an evil iceberg? As Julia was having fertility treatment did she just lose one of a pair of twins? And when is Murdoch going to be promoted? We know that Brackenried becomes chief constable, retiring in the 1920s from the Frankie Drake web story, where Watts becomes an inspector. And of course more of Myers Pendrick and Higgins. I just wish there were two series a year! —Clive

I was actually hoping Murdoch would come to his senses this time. This is not love. Julia asks too much. She obviously loves herself more than her husband. So selfish! No man should have to live with a Victorian “nasty girl!” —Beth

I disagree wholeheartedly. I don’t understand why a strong woman is often seen as a nasty woman, even by other women. William was very, very cruel when he blamed Julia for the miscarriage. He was cruel to her when he walked away from her (much earlier on) upon learning she had had an abortion. He was cruel when he took much too long to come to her to propose before she left for Buffalo. She loved William so much but was making a sacrifice of her own happiness so that he could meet and marry someone who could give him children. He did not go to say he loved her still and please don’t marry Darcy. I know he had just let someone out of jail when he shouldn’t have, but he could still have let her know before he left town. It probably would have turned out entirely differently. So William has hurt Julia over the years too. To paint her as nasty is a disservice to women everywhere. One needs to look at the whole picture and look at the love between them as being strong and forgiving. —Linda

This is a beautifully written and superbly acted TV show. We may hope for things to happen but basically it’s written for plot and character development. It’s ENTERTAINMENT! Sit back and let it entertain you!! —Pamela

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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You Gotta Eat Here! cancelled by Food Network Canada

The food-tasting food trip is over. You Gotta Eat Here!, hosted by John Catucci, has been cancelled by Food Network Canada after five seasons on the air.

“We are extremely proud of the volumes of strong Canadian original content we have delivered to audiences over the years,” Lisa Godfrey, vice-president of original content for Corus Entertainment, said in a statement. “After resonating with legions of fans, You Gotta Eat Here! has reached its natural end and has not been renewed for another season. The success this series had is a true testament to our exceptionally talented production partners, Lone Eagle Entertainment, and Corus applauds the cast, creators, producers, and writers for their dedication to this Canadian original. We remain firmly committed to developing standout original Canadian content and look forward to sharing more information about upcoming renewals and new series soon.”


Related: Listen to Anthony Marco interview John Catucci


Produced by Lone Eagle Entertainment, You Gotta Eat Here! featured comedian Catucci as he travelled across Canada—and to the odd city outside of this country—tasting food, getting his hands dirty making it and spotlighting the big and small-scale restaurants, eateries and watering holes folks should be trying out. Catucci, who never purported to be a chef (but has been churning out what looks like pretty delicious-looking high-end stuff on his Instagram page), was an inquisitive, funny and enjoyable host who clearly loved his job. It clearly resonated with fans and critics: the series debuted in 2012 and won Canadian Screen Awards for Best Lifestyle or Talk Program or Series in 2014 and 2017.

You Gotta Eat Here! is the latest series to be cancelled by Corus leading into the 2017-18 broadcast season. It joins HGTV Canada’s Timber Kings, Leave It to Bryan and Income Property as projects not moving forward with new episodes.

Repeats of You Gotta Eat Here! continue to be broadcast on Food Network Canada. How do you feel about the show being cancelled? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Preview: You Gotta Eat Here continues cross-Canada noshfest

Oh to be John Catucci. I dream of it sometimes. The opportunity to travel across Canada—with the occasional stop in the U.S.—sampling  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 eateries—Pizzeria Via Mercante in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood, Moonshine Barbecue in Montreal and The Cheshire Cat in Carp, Ont., outside of Ottawa—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 at 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.

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