Valerie Bertinelli Is Related to Royalty — and Has Cooking in Her Blood

Imagine discovering that you have royal blood coursing through your veins. That’s what happened to Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli

As much as the news wowed the former One Day at a Time star, it was learning of another more humble ancestor that affirmed her move to the culinary channel in 2015.

Valerie Bertinelli smiles for the camera in this 2011 photo.
Actor and Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli | David Livingston/Getty Images

The Food Network star learned her mother had majestic roots

The actor was featured in an episode of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? in 2014, during which she discovered stunning information about her family from both her parents’ lineages. She traveled to England (her mother’s heritage) and Italy (her father’s) as part of the program’s work to delve into her family genes.

Bertinelli was told there was a link to medieval English royalty on her mother’s side of the family.

The former Hot in Cleveland star was astounded to learn this part of her family history, especially given that during her formative years, she and her brothers were “always surrounded by my dad’s side of the family,” she said on the show (video below).

Her mother Nancy, she added, “fully embraced” her father’s Italian side of the family so much that, growing up, Bertinelli knew very little about her mother’s side.

“It turned out that my mother was related to a prominent family of Quakers named Claypoole, whose lineage could be traced to King Edward I. Dozens of other distant relatives names in thick, dusty books in London’s College of Arms filled in the blanks,” she wrote in her recent memoir Enough Already.

“You are directly descended from Edward I,” Peter O’Donoghue, York Herald of Arms at the College of Arms in London told a shocked Bertinelli on the program. “And if you’re going to be directly descended from an English king, what a great one to be descended from. Because he is the quintessential medieval English king.”

Valerie Bertinelli also found out about her father’s Italian heritage

While conducting research for the genealogy program, Bertinelli learned that it was not just from her mother that she had inherited her love of the kitchen. 

She revealed that before she approached Food Network in 2015 about the show that eventually became Valerie’s Home Cooking, the genealogists on the TLC program informed her that her great-grandmother Maria, on her father’s side, prepared and sold food for a living. It was a moment of validation for the actor.

“It was this legacy that food had among the women in my family that gave me the encouragement I needed to embrace this passion of mine, this new and maybe next chapter in my life,” she continued in her book. “[It] was calling me and I was listening.”

A popular Italian recipe from Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli.

Bertinelli’s great-grandmother’s food cart 

While in Italy, she learned about her great-grandmother Maria Francesca Possio Crosa and her food cart. This Italian ancestor depended on it to feed her family. Thanks to her food cart, Maria eventually financed her move to the U.S.

“It was thanks to her,” she said, “I was to learn, that cooking was in my blood. … I found out that Maria had worked as a cook at a home in San Remo. … To make extra money, my great-grandmother sold her homemade gelato. After [her husband] died suddenly of a heart attack, she used her gelato savings to buy tickets to the United States for herself and her children.”

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