Searching for Italy, a show devoted to Italian cuisine and hosted and produced by an inspired Stanley Tucci, has won an Emmy—TV’s equivalent of the Oscars—this year for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series
We might know Stanley Tucci as art director Nigel Kipling in The Devil Wears Prada or as Julia Child’s supportive husband in Julie & Julia. But, just like he plays many parts in reel life he plays many roles in the real. Apart from being an accomplished actor, producer, writer and even former fashion model, he is a passionate cook and celebrated cookbook author.
Most recently his passion for food took him back to his roots in Italy, where he hosted and produced a six-part series for CNN called Searching for Italy, which explores the “history, secrets and delights of the country’s regional cuisines.” And the show has just won an Emmy.
The series, which premiered on Valentine’s Day this year, took Tucci across the length and breadth of Italy. The six parts covered Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Bologna, Milan, Tuscany and Sicily. Tucci interacts with local cooks making the most of the local bounty, goes where few food show hosts have gone before and presents a veritable Italian feast.
Think stuff like a dish made with local wild rabbit on the island of Ischia; a fried pizza; Tucci’s favourite spaghetti and zucchini dish, the spaghetti alla nerano; cream-filled maritozzi buns in Rome; the simple but classic cacio e pepe; a trip to a creamery in Zocca with Chef Massimo Bottura; a divine saffron risotto in Milan; the Bitto Storico Ribelle, a cheese with a 2,000 year history; making Tuscany’s signature dish bistecca alla Fiorentina (beefsteak Florentine style) with olive branches and salt; an exploration of Tuscany’s wine windows; a chickpea flour pancake; and even donkey carpaccio.
Yes, this show will give you serious cravings. It also clearly swept this year’s Emmys jury away. Tucci’s show won in the Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series, besting the likes of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell, and Vice.
Tucci is no stranger to Emmys, however. This is his fourth win and he has been nominated a total of 10 times (including for Central Park this year in the ‘Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance’ category).