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The latest Bachelorette Season 16 trailer surprised Food Network fans when Antonia Lofaso popped up on Ben Smith’s Hometown date with Tayshia Adams. At this point in the season, the contestants are expected to introduce their families and friends to the lead. And now, Bachelor Nation viewers are wondering how Ben knows Antonia. So here’s what we know about the crossover.

Antonia Lofaso from Ben Smith’s ‘Bachelorette’ Hometown date is a ‘Top Chef’ star

Chef Antonia Lofaso attends The Players Tailgate 2020 Miami by Bullseye Event Group on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Antonia Lofaso | Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group

In case you didn’t know, Antonia is a chef who has appeared in a number of reality shows. She placed fourth on Top Chef: Chicago and third on Top Chef: All-Stars. She’s also been on shows like Cutthroat Kitchen, Restaurant Startup, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Selena Gomez’s HBO Max series, Selena + Chef

According to Antonia’s Instagram bio, she’s the executive chef at Scopa Italian Roots, DAMA Fashion District Restaurant & Bar, and Black Market Liquor Bar. Antonia is also the author of The Busy Mom’s Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, Home-Cooked Meals, which was published in 2012.

How does Antonia Lofaso know Ben Smith from Tayshia Adams’ ‘Bachelorette’ season?

When Antonia spoke with Ben on The Bachelorette Season 16 Episode 11 promo trailer, Bachelor Nation fans were confused about the Food Network crossover. Some viewers thought Ben and Antonia might be related, as Hometowns typically feature family. But the two reality stars are just friends.

On Nov. 23, Ben wished Antonia a happy birthday on Instagram. “Happy Birthday Antonia,” he wrote. “I love you very much. Thank you for being you.”

Meanwhile, Antonia responded, “I love you my friend so much.”

It also seems Antonia frequently goes to DEUCE Gym, which is where Ben works as a personal trainer. Then according to Bachelor Nation spoiler guru Reality Steve, that’s the connection. 

“The two people who show up for Ben’s hometown are Antonia and his sister Madalyn,” Reality Steve tweeted on Dec. 14. “He trains Antonia at his gym. His parents are not there.”

What Antonia Lofaso and Ben Smith’s conversation in ‘The Bachelorette’ trailer teases 

Ben Smith and Tayshia Adams on 'The Bachelorette' 2020
Ben Smith and Tayshia Adams on ‘The Bachelorette’ | Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

‘The Bachelorette’: Ben Smith Opens Up About His Connection With Tayshia Adams

While Antonia’s appearance in The Bachelorette trailer was exciting for some fans, the reality star’s comment to Ben was even more telling. In the teaser, Antonia asked Ben whether he loved Tayshia. However, Ben wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know,” Ben said.

Then as the promo progressed, Ben seemingly figured out his true feelings. “I’ve never felt this feeling,” he said. “But I’m in love with you.”

For now, Bachelor Nation fans just have to sit back and watch Ben and Tayshia’s story unfold on The Bachelorette Season 16. But whatever comes next, it seems the upcoming finale is going to be filled with drama. 

When speaking with E! News in December 2020, Chris Harrison hinted the current lead will experience “some breakdowns coming up.” He also questioned whether the remaining men truly want to take the next step moving forward.

“There’s no question these men are falling in love, there’s no question that Tayshia is falling in love,” Harrison said. “The question is, are these guys prepared to actually propose? That’s what Tayshia wants to know. Are they prepared to go all the way? That is the big question. And you see that she may not get the answer she’s looking for.”

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