Show: David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, Saturdays at 12:30PM ET
Backstory: "Dolce Vita means 'Sweet Life' and we shoot entirely in Italy. It's funny because when I was pitching the show, they would be like, 'Are you a chef?' and I’d be like, 'No – I’m Italian! It’s part of my DNA, our meals are gourmet every Sunday.' We filmed it Florence and we show how Italians incorporate food into their daily life. The simplicity of a capri salad... is it cooking? No but I call it food assembly. You have great ingredients, great mozzarella, beautiful tomatoes and olive oil and that’s it. Our show is really a hybrid of cooking, travel and lifestyle. What I’m showing is how accessible and how good Italian food is. People are really inspired when I say, 'I’m not a chef—I’m Italian.' I’ve often said that a bad cooking show can teach you how to cook but a good cooking show inspires you to want to cook. It’s that Italian philosophy of just being connected to the food, seasonal ingredients and that folklore wisdom of as much as you need or a little bit of this or that. For a foodie or food lover, Italy is one of the great culinary cultures of the world."
David's Roots: "Growing up in the 70s, I was in a very Waspy, Anglo Saxon, non-Italian neighborhood in Toronto. I was embarrassed because my dad would take my old hockey sticks, cut them and use them to hold up our tomatoes in the garden. We’d be making our own wine, our own prosciutto. It was so embarrassing because I just wanted to go to school with peanut butter and jelly—not prosciutto focaccia sandwiches. And now with the Food Network and food culture—food is so in. And Italian food is so hip. As a kid I was so embarrassed. I learned to appreciate Italian food when I went to Italy for first time when I was seven years old. Coming back to Toronto, I almost used my culture to make friends because I would have kids over and my mom would make fresh pizza and it became like, 'Oh, the Roccos eat really well!' It was rough because my rabbit was a pet that we would eat three weeks later . . . and my friends would be like, 'Didn’t you have a bunny as a pet?' And I’d changed the subject and my mom would tell them it was chicken. It’s all what we’re used to and how we were brought up."
Food Equals Calm: "I cook all the time. I truly am passionate about food and it’s a way for me to get rid of the stresses of my day. Food is almost about connecting with G-d. I’m very artistic and it’s an outlet. I always use food to relax. If I come home after being stuck in traffic I’ll tell my wife, 'I have a headache, leave me alone—I’m going into the kitchen to cook a great meal' and she’s like, 'Okay! Go go go. Please come home with bigger headaches and more stress.'"
Family Matters: "The Sunday meal is something we grew up with. The Sunday meal was a time to eat with the grandparents. I have vivid memories of being on my grandpa’s lap and him giving me a little bit of wine with ginger ale. There's no abuse of alcohol in my family—wine is part of our culture. You don’t abuse it, you respect it. But even now—even if I don’t speak to my mom all week because I’m busy—that Sunday ritual of eating all together is about being human again and connecting with family. The TV has to be off. That one special meal a week is so important."