Top Chef star Antonia Lofaso is a “really close family friend” of Bachelorette contestant Ben Smith

By Ally Mauch
December 16, 2020 11:44 AM
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Of all the things to expect from a hometown episode, a Top Chef and Bachelorette crossover was likely not high on the list for Bachelor Nation fans.

During Tuesday night’s episode of The Bachelorette, Indiana-born contestant Ben Smith recreated Venice Beach for his hometown date with Tayshia Adams, introducing her to his sister Madalyn as well as close family friend and Top Chef star Antonia Lofaso.

"I told you before, my life is full of strong, decisive, bold, independent women, and the two people you're going to meet today are my two favorites — a really close family friend, her name is Antonia, she is with me more than anybody else. And you and her are eerily similar, it's incredible," Smith told Adams, 30.

Smith, 30, later gushed over Adams to Lofaso, telling her that he possessed "the strongest feelings I've ever had for a person for her."

"She makes me feel a way that I've never felt in my entire life and I think the feeling is happiness. Like genuine, legitimate happiness," he said. "And every time I'm around her I'm more impressed with the way that she's able to make me into some sort of better person. I don’t have the words to describe it. It's incredible."

With a push from Lofaso, Smith realized his deep feelings for Adams. "My brain's exploding. I did not know it was love until Antonia called me out on it," he told the cameras, adding, "tonight was the most important night of my life."

But although Adams admitted that she too was "starting to fall in love with him," Smith didn't reveal his true feelings for her, resulting in him not getting a rose and being eliminated.

As for how Lofaso, 44 — who appeared on seasons 4 and 8 of Top Chef — ended up on the episode in the first place, the famed chef is trained by Smith at his gym and the pair have been friends for years.

Just last month, Smith shared a heartfelt Instagram in honor of Lofaso’s birthday.

“Happy Birthday Antonia, I love you very much. Thank you for being you 💜” he wrote alongside a video of them.

The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.