TV

Family Food Fight: The truth behind Pina’s tears on the show

“We didn't say goodbye!”

By Zara Zubeidi

There isn't a dry eye in the kitchen on Family Food Fight this week when the Pluchinottas mark the 13th anniversary of Pina's husband's death.

In 2005, Pina and Bart were at home when the 69-year-old had a fatal heart attack.

"I still can't get over it," Pina, 69, tells TV WEEK. "It just happened so quickly. We didn't get to say goodbye."

Pina and Concetta on *Family Food Fight.*
Pina and Concetta on Family Food Fight.

Despite the tragedy, Pina has many fond memories of their time together.

"It was love at first sight," Pina recalls.

The smitten pair met in 1964, when Bart came to live and work on Pina's family farm.

Bart quickly took a liking to Pina, but because of the age gap, their relationship came under fire from those around them – from her father in particular.

"I was only 15 and he was in his 20s," Pina explains. "When Bart proposed, my dad wasn't happy. On my wedding day, he decided to watch the footy instead. He only came at the last minute."

The happy couple on their wedding day.
The happy couple on their wedding day.

Pina, who says she endured a lonely and unhappy childhood living with her father, credits her beloved Bart for being her "knight in shining armour".

As well as being an incredible husband, Bart was also a doting father to Concetta and her three siblings.

"I can't fault him," Concetta, 46, says of her dad. "There were no arguments. We were always Dad's little girls."

The mother-and-daughter pair say that although Bart isn't physically present to watch them compete on Family Food Fight, they're sure he's with them in spirit.

"Mum can feel him every day," Concetta adds. "He'd be sitting here laughing his head off, saying, 'Why are you putting yourself through that?!' in a really jovial way.

"I think he's given Mum the strength to do something like this. She never would have done it otherwise."

Pina with her late husband Bart.
Pina with her late husband Bart.

Family Food Fight airs Monday and Tuesday, 7:30pm, on Nine Network.