When you meet a guy as handsome as Bill Rancic, it is nice to know he likes to eat Ready Whip from the can. It somehow makes him human, and in fact during a sit down and kick-up-your-well-polished-loafers with the host of the Food Network's gem, Kitchen Casino, I learned this husband, father and entrepreneur is far more than just a talking head. Smart, funny and not afraid to eat cookies out of the freezer, he is simply too nice to not like despite the fact that I still don't believe he is mere mortal. With restaurants including RPM Steak and Italian in Chicago, D.C. and LA, he is a man with a mission and show that is taking cooking to the casino.
Joshua Estrin: You are one half of a power couple -- how do you continue to address the work/life balance that so many of us struggle with and remain present in both arenas?
Bill Rancic: I would consider us a power couple (in training). Most importantly we are best friends and partners in every sense of the word. Is it perfect all the time? No, but what relationship is? We make it work because we want it to work and I will be the first to admit that like any relationship it takes hard work.
JE: What role has food played in your life? Do you eat to live or live to eat?
BR: I definitely live to eat. I love food in every way imaginable and it does not have to be fancy. Whether we stay in or go out, I like a hardy meal. My grandmother taught me how to cook and it was all about no fuss and lots of it.
JE: Tell me about your latest project with the Food Network.
BR: Kitchen Casino is a smart show as well as a difficult show to make happen as it has a great many moving parts (literally). Chefs are pushed to their gastronomic limits while they strategically play the odds. It takes a great deal of planning to simply create a masterful dish and this show adds a new twist as you can bet on your skills or use your abilities and also create real obstacles for your opponents should they end up with your culinary decisions. You can certainly play the odds here with a dash of lady luck thrown in for good measure and good television.
JE: What is your favorite foodie guilty pleasure?
BR: Bread pudding makes me weak. I have been known to be moved to tears by cookies and ice cream, and ribs are a spiritual experience for me. The funny thing is while the grown-ups in the family may indulge, we really try to offer our son Duke clean food as all his meals are made with organic ingredients as the rest of us eat cookies straight out of the freezer.
Kitchen Casino can be seen on The Food Network, Sundays 11|10c
NOTE: In the spirit of full transparency I have no connection to any of the brands named in this article nor was I paid to write it.