David Rocco’s Sweet Life
David Rocco is showing the world what the phrase “La Dolce Vita” truly means. Moving into his fourth season as the host of the popular Cooking Channel series, David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, he demonstrates what Italians already know: that food is only the starting point to their enviable lifestyle.
Unlike other cooking shows where the kitchen is the focus, Dolce Vita takes it viewers along for a journey through Italy’s most popular destinations: Sicily, Florence and the e Amalfi Coast. So, whether he’s walking through an agriturismo or zooming around on a Vespa, Rocco provides a glimpse into what life is really like in Italy. This is what makes his show so appealing to Italians and Italophiles, who already know that food is just the beginning.
Rocco and his wife, Nina, who is his partner, have produced four seasons of Dolce Vita. In season one and most of season two they roamed through beautiful Florence, Firenze, exploring sophisticated cafes and restaurants, as well as local markets and meeting some true Italian characters along the way. They moved South at the end of their second season to the legendary Amalfi coast and last season returned to Florence to celebrate Srping and then headed south to Sicily to explore Palermo’s agriculture and wine industry. Then they returned to Amalfi stopping in the resort town of Ischia.
Rocco’s frequently reminds viewers, “I’m not a chef. I’m Italian” and this is precisely what makes him the perfect host. He was raised in an Italian family in Toronto. Both his parents are from Italy. His father is from Pozzuoli in the province of Naples in the Campania region. His mother is from Monteleone in Puglia. Their neighborhood wasn’t predominantly Italian, though, so Rocco experienced some teasing about his mom’s lunch selections.
“Being Italian we were the odd fish. We made our own wine. My mom would pack lunches with rabbit and sometimes I just wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” he jokes. “Going home for lunch was probably a better option for me. I knew I would eat well.”
Despite the teasing, Rocco embraced his Italian roots. He explains, “I never discounted that. I think Italian food and culture was really front-and-center, but I think it’s more of a function of embracing and appreciating your culture and taking pride in it.” He observes how much things have changed and how Italian food is now embraced, and loved, by so many people.
Rocco just released his second book, Made In Italy, which also takes readers on a gastronomical tour of Italy—from his modern flat in Florence to the lemon groves of the Amalfi coast. In Made In Italy, he shares 140 simple, rustic recipes crafted to inspire everyday cooks to get in the kitchen. Recipes vary from a refreshing Caprese salad with avocado, weeknight chicken breasts with fragrant rosemary and chili flakes to a Sunday meat stew flavored with tomatoes and red wine and an easy apple-yogurt cake.
The recipes in Made In Italy are accompanied by photographs of the gorgeous food and sweeping images of the Italian countryside. Rocco remarked, “I think it’s a book that is special because there’s a lot of thought behind it and pride in keeping it authentic, very much what ‘Made In Italy’ means. Every page has a photograph, and that makes it as much a travel book as a cookbook.”
He went on to explain, “This book is about my connectedness to friends and family and the ingredients. People can connect because of the authenticity of it. The recipes inspire you to get in the kitchen and start cooking.”
What’s up next for David Rocco? Well, he just had his third child—a son named Dante— and he also has two twin daughters, Emma and Giorgia, so he’s taking some much-needed time to spend with his family. He may even head to South Florida where he occasionally vacations.
“It’s funny,” he joked, “Something happens when you have kids…we have a couple of shows in development and a promotional tour for the book. I think just a continuation of what I’ve done and trying to remain authentic to my core values of what Italy is and my connection to the food, people and family.”
You can learn more about David on his website and also watch video clips from the series on The Cooking Channel’s site for David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.
Order David Rocco’s Made In Italy Today at Amazon!