NEW YORK – The Livanos family, brothers Johnny and Enrico, and mom Lorena, will be competing on ABC’s Family Food Fight, a cooking competition based show that offers eight families the opportunity to battle for the title of “America’s No. 1 Food Family.”
The lively Livanos family, from Westchester, NY, is best known as restaurant owners of Ousia, among other well-known restaurants, including Molyvos, named for the family’s village of origin in Lesvos. The mother and sons trio use their Greek-Italian (Lorena is of Italian descent) culinary skills on the show in competition for a $100,000 grand prize and the coveted title.
Johnny, Enrico, and Lorena Livanos spoke with The National Herald about the show and how their heritage helped them compete.
When asked how they became involved with the show, Johnny Livanos, General Manager at Ousia, told TNH that a friend had seen the announcement for the audition and told him about it, noting that it would be a great fit for the family. “We auditioned for fun,” Livanos said, adding that they cooked their best in the audition and made it to the next round. Their personality and energy shined in the process and a competitive spirit emerged that the brothers had never seen before in their mom which gave them added incentive to do their best on the show.
Livanos noted that leaving the restaurant to film the show was of concern for the family, but thankfully, their dad, uncle, and a great staff took care of the restaurant while they were away filming.
When asked if their Greek/Italian heritage gave them an advantage in the competition, Enrico Livanos told TNH, we are American but our Greek and Italian background and heritage definitely gave us an edge, it is a different skill set and along with our American flair it definitely helped us.
Of the best aspects of participating in the show Johnny Livanos said seeing his brother and mom in a competitive setting was fun since most of the time they cook together in a relaxed atmosphere at home with a bottle of wine. “It was fun to get into the competition and see mom’s competitive side.”
When asked about their favorite recipes to cook at home, Livanos told TNH, “We love to make spanakopita, chicken cutlets, gemista, pasta, mom makes amazing lasagna, and we love a lot of vegetables.”
Following the filming of the show, the Livanos family was back at Ousia, they told TNH, but they could not add any details about how well they did. When asked what they learned by competing on ABC’s Family Food Fight, Johnny Livanos said, “We learned we could cook a really great meal in 45 minutes!”
He added that he recently spoke at an event in Brooklyn about Greek spirits, i.e. ouzo and tsipouro, and he is now working on creating their own Greek liqueur, made in Greece.
When asked if they get to travel to Greece often, Livanos said, “We always make time to go to Lesvos, Molyvos village where our grandfather is from. We stay at our ancestral home which is over 100 years old.”
Of a viewing party for the show, he said that “everyone is welcome to watch the show at home, but we will be watching at Ousia at 9 PM on Thursday, June 27.
“We hope all the Greek community will watch the show and support us.”
ABC’s Family Food Fight airs Thursdays on ABC.
Hosted by Ayesha Curry, a renowned restaurateur, founder of Homemade and a New York Times best-selling cookbook author, Family Food Fight features family teams dishing out their best culinary skills. Tapping into each family’s uniquely diverse cultural heritage, Family Food Fight takes homestyle cooking to a new level as teams square off with their most prized family recipes. With a mix of fast-paced cooking fun, good humor and healthy rivalries, everyone will cook their hearts out as they strive to impress a panel of culinary experts including host and judge, Curry, and world-renowned chefs, authors, restaurateurs and television personalities Greek-American Cat Cora and Graham Elliot. Despite the many delectable dishes, only one family will claim the coveted title of America’s No. 1 Food Family and take home the $100,000 prize.