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Cooking show host Valerie Bertinelli taking it one day at a time

Valerie Bertinelli's Daytime Emmy-winning show Valerie's Home Cooking will kick off Season 11 on the Food Network Sunday. File Photo by Chris Chew/UPI
Valerie Bertinelli's Daytime Emmy-winning show "Valerie's Home Cooking" will kick off Season 11 on the Food Network Sunday. File Photo by Chris Chew/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, May 10 (UPI) -- Taping of Season 11 of Valerie's Home Cooking was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but host Valerie Bertinelli can't wait for viewers to see the 10 episodes she finished.

The shows will start rolling out Sunday on the Food Network.

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"I'm very, very excited for people to see the new episodes. There are some amazing recipes, and I think people are going to have fun playing with them and making them their own," the 60-year-old television icon told UPI in a recent phone interview.

"I'm hoping that people make them and tag me [on social media,] so I can see what they are doing," Bertinelli said.

The show was named Best Culinary Program and Bertinelli was voted Best Culinary host at last year's Daytime Emmy Awards.

She said she still can't believe it.

"Everything about that night was magical. I look at them and think, 'Oh, my God! It has my name on it!'" she said. "I don't have words for how shocked I was, first of all, and how grateful and appreciative that I get to work with the people I get to work with and how hard they work to make me look good."

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Famous for her acting roles on the original One Day at a Time, Touched By an Angel and Hot in Cleveland, Bertinelli makes a charming and relatable cooking show host, chatting with guests and a home audience while effortlessly whipping up delicious meals.

"It's definitely a muscle that I had to start working on because it wasn't something I was used to," she said. "Usually, when I'm cooking, I have a glass of wine and I am not talking. This was totally new for me. I got used to it pretty easily, but it's like making Thanksgiving dinner every single day and talking the entire time through it."

As California slowly reopens, it remains unclear when filming on the remaining three episodes will resume. Bertinelli doesn't expect her reality show to get the green light earlier than scripted dramas or comedies.

"I don't see how it works. I can't wear a mask while I'm doing a show, and does the whole crew wear masks and then I don't? Do we get tested? Do we take our temperatures every day?" she wondered aloud. "Until we have a system that we can trust, I don't know how it happens."

With so many aspects of society at a standstill, it is unclear what the TV and restaurant industries will look like in the near future.

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"Mainly, I have no idea because the people that are supposed to be getting us through this have no idea, either, and they're lying to us and they are giving us disinformation," Bertinelli said.

"If we all had more true information, if we really listened to the doctors and the ER staff and the nurses that are really working and really suffering and really trying to keep us all from dying, we would all stay home. So when there are too many mixed signals and they are politicizing it, it doesn't help the actual science," she said.

The actress said there's no bright side to people being stuck at home, social distancing to slow the spread of the disease, instead of working, going to school or spending time with friends and family.

"I don't see a silver lining to this many people dying," said Bertinelli, who admits she is anxious since she has asthma and is considered vulnerable to the coronavirus. "I'm appalled at what is happening in our country and that we were lied to as long as we were about the danger and severity of this virus."

Bertinelli is riding out the pandemic at home with her husband, financial planner Tom Vitale, and seven pets.

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She uses video-conference technology to keep up with her former Hot in Cleveland co-stars, her book club and her son, 29-year-old musician Wolfgang Van Halen.

To keep from feeling helpless and frustrated, Bertinelli said she is donating to charities and baking treats for the people who make it easier for her to stay home and safe.

The letter carrier who delivered her mail recently received a plate of fresh-baked brownies, for example.

"We all can actually help each other by giving to these organizations what we can, and if we can't, we have to eat, so order from local restaurants, tip what we can to the people that are running the food to us, or tip what we can to the people when we pick it up," she said.

The United States has never really focused on the essential workers who keep it moving and thriving, she noted.

"We are understanding now these are the people who need to be paid and paid well," she said.

Bertinelli said she wants to jump on the bread-baking bandwagon, but for some reason hasn't been able to.

"For the longest time, I couldn't find yeast, which drove me crazy because I wanted to make bread, but now that I have yeast, I've got a mental block. It's very scary. I don't know what's wrong with me," she laughed.

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Although she is focused on making Valerie's Home Cooking right now, Bertinelli hasn't ruled out a return to scripted television.

"If something good comes up, I'm definitely open to it," she said, adding she misses Hot in Cleveland and calling the five years she spent on the sitcom the most fun of her life.

Bertinelli would also love to guest star on the remake of One Day at a Time. She said an appearance had been planned but was scrapped because of scheduling conflicts and then both the comedy and Valerie's Home Cooking went on hiatus because of the pandemic.

"They are all brilliant. They are so outstanding. They are so, so good at what they do," she said of the new show's cast and creative team. "I'm hoping when we all come back, maybe I can still do a guest shot. I love those people. They are terrific."

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