Star Scrapbook: Luca Della Casa

Luca Della Casa was the first runner-up on Food Network Star, Season 10. Relive the memorable moments from his time on the show.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Luca Della Casa

Italian-born Luca came into the competition with his heritage as a point of view, and while his culinary offerings were strong, he struggled with camera work so much so that he was first sent home in Episode 2. After winning Star Salvation, however, he remained long enough to earn a spot in the final three, and he was ultimately named the first runner-up of the contest.

Genuine Delivery

In week one, while some finalists had to reach for a culinary niche and couldn't communicate their perspectives, Luca succeeded in selling his idea in the first pitch. "That was a very good example of him telling us who he is but at the same time telling us what he's going to teach us without shoving it down your throat," Bobby said.

Kitchen Game Plan

Every finalist was given a journal to use during the competition, and Luca filled his with reflections on challenges and ideas for dishes. Here he penned a list of ingredients related to his "CPV" (culinary point of view), which he stated was "Italian food." Some of his go-to items were "porcini ... ravioli ... [and] risotto."

Culinary Chops

Luca told the mentors, "I learned from my mom and from my grandma that a good knife and fresh ingredients are all you need to make a delicious meal." And indeed he let simplicity shine in the first Star Challenge when preparing party bites for 100 people. He served anchovy-laced beef tartare that Giada said was "delicious."

Cashing In

"Million-dollar smile," Food Network executive Bob Tuschman remarked of Luca to the Selection Committee after watching his performance at the podium. Luca had heeded Giada's advice from earlier in the day and shined his smile, and Giada noted, "He's authentic; he's charismatic."

Name-Dropping

Luca's week two started out promising when he successfully walked Alton through the mushroom step in a recipe for green bean casserole. "I just tried to give him confidence," Luca explained. Later, Alton praised him for speaking of his grandmother's influence in his cooking and said, "You brought up a grandmother — fantastic thing to do."

Lost Contact

Once Luca took his place in front of the camera in the second Star Challenge of the season, the mentors soon realized there would be problems. "He needs to look up more," Giada explained. He wasn't able to maintain a focus on the lens and often looked away from the camera instead of directly at it. "I didn't expect him to be so boring," Alton added.

Much to Learn

After deliberating their options for elimination, Bobby, Giada and Alton decided that Luca's inability to command the camera proved he wouldn't have staying power in the competition. "I'm alarmed by the fact that someone comes into a competition like this and hasn't bothered to put themselves in front of a camera," Alton said to his fellow judges of Luca's lack of experience.

Exit Plan

Just before Luca left, Alton told him, "We just don't think you've got the skill set to move on with this at this point in time," and Luca was forced to go home after only two weeks of competition. He reflected on his time in the contest, noting, "I'm kind of mad at myself because I know that I can be good at this," but he added, "I respect their decision."

Salvation Accomplished

After ousting his fellow rivals on Star Salvation, Luca earned the coveted opportunity to re-enter the Food Network Star competition.

Sin City Surprise

"You're like the comeback kid," Giada told Luca after he wowed the pool party crowd with an engaging performance at Caesars Palace and impressed the mentors with his thoughtful seafood salad.

Nervous Energy

Working with Team Sarah on a globally inspired menu, Luca struggled to contain his anxiety before his presentation, as he was visibly shaking when he entered the room. Nevertheless, he managed to calm himself and deliver a controlled performance. "I'm thinking back home about my grandma," Luca explained of his strategy.

Thriving Live

It was up to Luca to prepare a kid-friendly menu for a family featured on The Rachael Ray Show, and his cauliflower-based risotto was a success, according to the mentors. "It's a thoughtful dish," said Alton, who noted, "Luca did his best job yet."

More Luca, Please

In the finalists' last challenge, the top-four rivals taped 30-second promos, although only three of them would get the green light. Lucky for Luca, his Italian-focused pitch was a success and the first one to be given the go-ahead. "This is something that I never imagined in my life," Luca said of the experience.

Luca's Feast

With the help of guest mentor Robert Irvine, Luca filmed his pilot at Bocca di Bacco. In his show, he met with Chef Kristin and prepared for her and her friends a family-style meal with the tried-and-true tips he learned from his family.

Cast Reunion

Past finalists returned to New York City for a final look-back on the momentous season with the Selection Committee, and Luca proudly took his seat in the front row as one of the top-three rivals.

Anybody's Game

Tensions were high as Lenny and Luca awaited word from Food Network's president, Brooke Johnson, on who among them would earn the coveted title of Food Network Star.

Runner-Up

Despite Luca's recognition as "the comeback kid" from Giada, he ultimately did not earn enough fan votes to become a Star. Immediately after the announcement, his fellow hopefuls and the Committee were quick to console him with hearty hugs and praises for a job well done.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse insider photos to find out what happens when the cameras stop rolling, and go on set with the finalists and mentors.

More: Behind the Scenes of Food Network Star, Season 10

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