Food and romance often go hand in hand and we’ll see it in new Hallmark movies and mystery movies. Always mine. In the photo, restaurant owner Elizabeth (Autumn Riser) tries to keep her late husband’s Italian restaurant, El Sibo e Vita, in business… but she doesn’t want the help of “restaurant fixer” Ben (Tyler Hynes).
The pair clash when Elizabeth desperately wants to keep up the tradition when Ben sees the opportunity to rearrange a lot about the dining hall. Can they come to a middle ground where tradition and innovation (and perhaps Elizabeth and Ben) can come together?
While watching Rome-Com, don’t be surprised if you suddenly become hungry for Italian food, because the best-selling author, restaurant, and TV personality Giada de Lorentis is one of the project’s executive producers.
During our chat with De Laurentis, we learned how the movie got off the ground, whether the food we see in the movie came from his own cookbook, and about food and romance which is always a winning combination.
How did the whole ball get rolling over the film? Did Hallmark come to you or did you go to them?
Giada de Lorentis: No, I went to them. I’ve really, really been wanting to make this kind of movie for a long time. The characters are the main driving force of the story but the food plays the role of a great sorting, supporting actor in the story line. Enthusiastic food and how it combines feelings of warmth and positivity and meaningful connection, family gatherings, tradition, all these things.
In the beginning, I wanted to do this on Food Network because it was my home but they didn’t do anything scripted so I went to Hallmark. And, to be honest, I went to Hallmark four years ago and now the world has changed a lot since I first pitched it but I was so excited in October when all of a sudden, out of the blue, they called and said “Remember this project you have four years Pitch first? Okay, we’re going to make it and we’re going to start shooting it in six weeks! “
I peeked at the movie early and then had to go get Italian for dinner. Coincidence?
[Laughs] For most cultures, especially the Italians, the whole world revolves around our food and the people who connect us to that food. That is clear in the story of the film. Elizabeth is desperately trying to keep her late husband’s restaurant afloat and she’s stuck that way because she feels the only way to connect after she passes and I think we all do it. There are family recipes that we carry on that remind us of the people we lost and those connections.
By the way, one of the themes of the movie is the idea of sticking to traditions or taking a step forward with those traditions. What is your opinion about that?
What I have done all my life, I have taken my family’s traditional recipes and traditions and given them a more modern spin. Elizabeth, through this whole process, has learned to get back in tune with some of her emotions, like baking, which she hasn’t done so far. He realizes that it is OK to carry on and modernize the tradition. It’s important for us to move forward and hold on to those bits and pieces of tradition, love and passion but to make ourselves a little bit new. So it is with Elizabeth, who can ignite new love at this time too!
Are the foods we see and talk about in the film from your book?
For the most part, they are. It’s something that kept me cool and I come from a movie family, so movies were a big part of our lives and food. It’s fun to put it together and actually make a movie out of it.
I had a question about the relationship between food and love but now when we talk they are mixed, right?
Yes and this special movie really shows how food and love define an entire generation. This has happened in many cultures and in the United States. Over the years, little by little, we’ve started to find out what foods we really like, but for many cultures around the world, and that’s the relationship with other people. That passion for food, through their culture. And I think that makes this movie so beautiful. That’s right, it awakens this kind of consciousness, and I think a sense of purpose which is just so, the name is very appropriate.
Any chance you’re popping up in all the pictures, could be a cameo?
I want to! I unfortunately could not because of my existing contract. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to do it but I don’t think it takes anything away from the experience. And I think I’m still there and my love for my soul and culture is still a part of the movie.
Did the production of this film satisfy your hunger for more films like this?
Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. I hope we make a lot more of it. It somehow feeds my soul. I just like to collect part of it as a family with this feeling-good way and tradition of storytelling. It’s all a one-win formula.
Always mineMovie Premiere, Sunday, April 3, 9 / 8c, Hallmark Channel