Being Here

June 17, 2022

As I write this, my time in the gorgeous country of Italy is winding down. I have been here, working and playing for nearly two months. I wanted to share some of my adventures with you.

We started in Rome with a few days off after filming our 2023 season in the US and before beginning the experience of filming for the first time in my beloved Italy.

From Rome to Naples to Gragnano and Pompeii, everyone we know and love was into this new…project of mine; a little nervous, but none more than me. I didn’t know my crew. Everyone was new to me; I didn’t know how my Italian crew worked or thought. We had only met once on Zoom. Yikes, right?

Shooting on location is far different than anything I had done before. Oh, sure we have filmed at farm markets and in a supermarket but my crew blocks things off and it was almost like being alone on a set. Not so on the streets of Rome and Naples. As you can imagine, the cities are once again teeming with tourists and residents. Filming there was like filming in the middle of a circus…but in the most spectacular way.

Before we began filming, I said to the directors (American and Italian), I wanted an authentic feel to the little ‘film’ we would drop into the show. They completely understood and did as I asked. The genius of Bob Sweeney and Filippo Chiesa was so amazing, it turned into a completely emotional production for me. My make-up artist, Tiziana was a genius (with this…mature face of mine). Sound, still photography, assistants, family and friends, my lovely husband as executive producer all came together to make my dream of creating a “miniature Fellini film“ in the middle of my cooking show come true.

We worked with the best Italy has to offer and they just happen to be people I know and adore. From Elisabetta Luti (my Italian sister) in Rome to the charming Chef Nocera in Pompeii, to Alfonso and Amelia Cuomo, the genius brother and sister team behind Pasta Cuomo to the force of nature chef, Antonella Scala and the best pizza chef I have ever met, Francesca, (yup a woman…a rarity in Naples) not to mention the fabulous, clever and oh, so smart Antonio Mosca, tour guide extraordinaire, everyone jumped on this magic carpet ride with me, working to create my vision.

Everything is in edit now and the shows won’t run until 2023 but I can’t wait for you to see these new episodes!

Then it was off to Ravello to host a wedding for the daughter of a dear friend. Anyone who has been to the Amalfi Coast knows that it’s wall to wall sunshine nearly every day of the year. And so it was, day after glorious day until the actual day of the wedding. It poured…buckets all day. And of course, the bride was told that ‘la sposa bagnata e la sposa fortunata’ (the wet bride is the lucky bride). At first, my lovely bride (and she was lovely in every possible way, inside and out) felt anything but lucky, but with the help of a spirited and talented photographer, her smitten groom and their up-for-anything guests, it turned into the wedding of her dreams; a little unpredictable and wild, but the dreamiest of days.

As we waved goodbye to our bridal party, the next groups of happy vacationers arrived one after the other to enjoy the wonders and beauty of the Amalfi Coast. From Naples to Pompei, Sorrento to Positano, to the magic that is Ravello, our guests were pampered by our gracious hosts at Villa San Cosma ( where we cooked, feasted and traveled together, gathering memories that we will hold in our hearts for years to come.