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Host Bill Rancic deals some foodie poker during “Kitchen Casino,” a new cooking competition show that debuts Monday on the Food Network. Each card represents an ingredient that the chef must use in a dish.

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    • “Kitchen Casino” debuts at 9 p.m. Monday on the Food Network. The show will have repeat telecasts throughout the week; check schedule at

First ‘Apprentice’ rolls out ‘Kitchen Casino’

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Bill Rancic expects to get lucky in his new “Kitchen Casino.”

The original “Apprentice,” the TV host and best-selling author debuts his new cooking competition show Monday on the Food Network. “Kitchen Casino” blends chef challenges a la “Chopped” with Las Vegas-inspired gaming. Chef Roulette, anyone?

“People LOVE food,” Rancic said in a phone interview. “It’s true; the way to your heart is through your stomach. People love learning, too. They do that as they watch chefs compete.”

Each episode pits four chefs in kitchen challenges that incorporate familiar games. A giant slot machine pays off in ingredients. The cooking stations spin like a roulette wheel. In a version of foodie poker, Rancic deals cards with more ingredients. Bluffing will cost these contestants; they’ve got to have serious chops to succeed in this kitchen’s “high steaks” gambles.

“It’s stressful — and magical,” Rancic said. “You wonder: Can the chefs pull it off?”

As a Chicago entrepreneur, Rancic made reality TV history as the first winner of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Since Donald Trump said “You’re hired” in 2004, Rancic has enjoyed a busy (and visible) career as a developer, author, restaurateur, inspirational speaker, producer and TV host.

His books “You’re Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life” and “Beyond The Lemonade Stand” both became New York Times best sellers. He had another hit with “I Do ... Now What?,” co-authored with his wife (and sometimes TV co-star) Giuliana.

“Never in a million years did I dream these things would happen,” Rancic said. “I was lucky enough when Donald Trump hired me; I was a judge on ‘The Apprentice’ for six seasons, too. Now at the Food Network, I love it. I’m just thrilled to be doing this show. It’s so different — and fun!”

For a Q & A with Rancic, read The Bee’s Feast section Sunday.

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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