A Day With HGTV Asia The Cousins

Back when I was still single, you can call me a couch potato. Being a homebody that I am, I spend my slow days at home watching my favorite shows. Most of the shows I watch are reality shows that involves makeovers– wardrobe overhaul, beauty change and my favorite of them all, home makeovers. My lil’ Ms. JG picked up whenever she would catch me watching. Just like me, she gets fascinated with the transformation, every. single. time.

I was doing a Kitchen Cousins–one of HGTV Asia’s home improvement shows–marathon a few weeks back and my little girl caught me gushing over the beautiful kitchens renovated. She then proceeded to sit through a few episodes with me. Side by side we shared our comments and our opinions on the tiles, backsplash and kitchen cabinets. Simultaneously nodding in approval as cousins Anthony & John decided on their final pick of materials.

So when I broke the news that the Cousins will be here in the Philippines for the first time and I was their correspondent for a day, my 6-year old daughter couldn’t believe it. “They’re coming to our house to fix our kitchen?! When?!”

“Oh, I don’t think they have enough time to fix anybody’s kitchen. They’re here ‘coz they have a new show and it’s called America’s Most Desperate Kitchens and I’ll be accompanying them for a day and make them feel at home.”, I told her.

“That’s cool mom!”

Cool is an understatement. It’s awesome! I honestly couldn’t sleep the night before. I have a list of questions I wanted to ask them and I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts about the previous homes they’ve changed. But when I came to meet them the next day, I drew blank and was speechless for almost the first half of the day.


I couldn’t really believe they’re here in Manila enjoying the sweltering heat! Here I was with Anthony Carrino (left) and John Colaneri (right), The Cousins behind America’s Most Desperate Kitchens.

Cousins Anthony & John were discovered by HGTV back in 2011. They offered them a chance to share their expertise through a television and the two became The Cousins. Since then, they have helped save homes across America through their shows Kitchen Cousins, Cousins on Call, Cousins Undercover and now their latest show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens which premiered last Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 9 pm on HGTV.

Cousins Anthony Carrino  and John Colaneri are rescuing desperate homeowners who are in need of a major kitchen overhaul. In each episode, the cousins will choose one of America’s Most Desperate Kitchens from their viewers’ hilarious video submission, then travel to their homes to surprise the homeowners with a stunning transformation they will never forget.

We had our lunch at La Cocina de Tita Moning in Manila to enjoy Filipino dishes and indulge in some culture that lingers within the ancestral home cum restaurant.


A quick trivia about La Cocina De Tita Moning: The entire house was converted into a restaurant and it is owned by a Filipino family. The details of each room are filled with historical bearings– all were kept and preserved by the family.


Just as we were about to head to our private dining room, a few guests started to notice that it was The Cousins who entered the restaurant. After realizing this, they guests immediately flanked John & Anthony and the two happily obliged to take a few photos with them. Seeing how they are so humble & nice to anyone who would ask for a photo made my introvert self more comfortable talking to them during lunch.


What we had for lunch was nothing short of delicious. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of the photos I took as the food arrived, John & Anthony were excited to try everything.


John & Anthony both excited to try La Cocina de Tita Moning’s dishes. I like how very interested and eager they were to try all the dishes that came out from the kitchen.

After eating for two hours, here we are all smiles. Can you tell we had a good meal? 🙂


Both Anthony & John like all the dishes they tried but they’ve got their own favorites. Watch the video see what they are.

We finished lunch late that day–because it was that fun & the food was that good! Happy bellies we had! All the food we ate had us longing for siesta. So we took the remaining hours to freshen up before the HGTV House Party with The Cousins that night.


How cute is the table centrepiece at the HGTV House Party?! That’s a real hollow block with paint brushes, nuts and bolts!


Mr. Derek Chang, Managing Director, Scripps Network Interactive, Asia Pacific shared how HGTV has always been in the forefront of providing compelling programs that bring out inspiration to viewers around the world. Inviting the cousins was their way of saying thank you to the many fans and viewers of their channel. They hope that their new show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens will excite new viewers and engage even more closely with current supporters.

During the HGTV Asia House Party, John & Anthony played a Him or Me game. It was fun to watch them try and figure who is who.


And here’s a clip of the cousins answering the toughest question thrown at them that night.

Another game they had was to guess the kind Filipino kitchen tools were presented to them. Both Anthony & John were able to guess the tools– which got them even more curious especially after knowing how each one works.

clockwise: ice shaver, fruit scraper, and coconut meat grinder. Yes, that’s a coconut meat grinder tool that John is sitting on. He was impressed how it can really efficiently scrape off coconut meat.


Since The Cousins couldn’t renovate someone’s kitchen, they just awarded one lucky winner gift certificates from Crate and Barrel. Enough to renovate not just the kitchen but another room in the house. Lucky, lucky!


Here are a few questions John & Anthony answered during the HGTV House Party with The Cousins.

Tell us what can we expect with America’s Mose Desperate Kitchens?

John/Anthony: We asked everyone who’s interested to have a kitchen makeover to send their video proposals to us. If we like it, we pick them. The renovation of the kitchen is done only in 3 days and the families that we surprise have no clue that we’ll come to their house. The transformation–taking down walls, coming up with a design and doing the demo and renovation– for every home is different. You’ll never see the same design and kitchen.

What’s the best part of filming together?

John: I get to play pranks with Anthony! It’s so much fun working with him.

Anthony: It’s nice that we’re recognized for something that we do and something that we’re passionate about. Best part is I get to do it with John. 

What’s it like working with a relative?

Anthony: It’s a collaborative process. We pick each other up and I have to say, it’s always a good thing. Two minds are always better than one.

What’s your advise to someone renovating their kitchen?

John: Call us!

Anthony: It’s all about planning. We give practical tips on the show so better to watch America’s Most Desperate Kitchens! But seriously, don’t get started if you haven’t planned anything yet!

John: The kitchen is the place that you can be unique. It’s what sets your house apart from others. So don’t hurry up renovating it. Plan first. Have a vision of what you want and then that’s the time you do something about it. Make it unique to you.

What’s the kitchen trend in 2016?

John/Anthony: Colored appliances are huge right now. If you don’t want to add a pop of color in your kitchen through the overall design/look, go ahead and add color through your appliances. Also, it’s good to mix different textures. Antique brass, coppers, nickels, steels. The mix of these materials are now more acceptable in the kitchen. 

Dream renovation?

John: To build my own home, which is what I did last year. Oh but I wanna redo the White House Kitchen. I know there’s more than one kitchen there so I’m okay with redoing just one.

Anthony: To build my loft. It was gratifying to have the time and ability to build your own space.

John lives in a modern barn while Anthony lives in an industrial loft. During lunch, I also learned that John & Anthony have a Filipino restaurant in Jersey City called Talde. It’s a casual Asia-American restaurant that serves Filipino-fusion dishes. Being in the Manila for a few days validated their love for food. They even host a Kamayan Night at Talde where guests get to eat, the boodle fight way! I was surprised to know this yet I find it’s not that hard to fall in love with Filipino food. I wish though that they can come back and renovate one Filipino kitchen. That would be awesome! For now, I’ll just enjoy watching America’s Most Desperate Kitchens on HGTV.

So you ask me, how was it spending the day with the cousins? Here’s my answer.


Thank you so much HGTV Asia for giving me all-access pass and letting me spend one fine Sunday with The Cousins! I learned so much about them and what they’re passionate about.


America’s Most Desperate Kitchens will premier this April 26, Tuesday at 9:00 PM. First and exclusive in Asia. Catch it  only on HGTV Asia– SkyCable Channel 88 (SD) & 246 (HD), Cignal Channel 101 and Destiny Cable Channel 88.You can also watch the full first episode online at www.hgtv.asia/AMDK




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