Searching for Italy episode 5 – Tuscany: Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance and world-class art, architecture and culture. It’s also produced some of the finest wines and dishes in the history of Italian cuisine. But Tuscany is also home to the cuisine of poor Tuscan peasantry, known as “cucina povera”.
Stanley Tucci starts his exploration of Tuscany with his parents Stan and Joan. He then meets chef and restaurateur Fabio Picchi who shows him Tuscany’s signature dish, the magnificent bistecca alla fiorentina. Renaissance scholar Elisabetta Di Giugno takes Stanley on a wine bar crawl starting with Florence’s first bar to re-open its wine window.
Out in the countryside, Stanley attends a Threshing Festival to celebrate the importance and tradition of the lowly loaf. Back in Florence Stanley samples three dishes which use stale bread as the key ingredient; ribollita, pappa al pomodoro and panzanella. Attending an Arts Festival, he comes across a fancy appetizer of foamed panzanella. Inspired by this recreation of a ‘poor’ Tuscan classic into an aristocratic dish, he visits the creator of the foam at her wonderful new restaurant.
Finally, Stanley meets back with Fabio in the port city of Livorno where he makes cacciucco, a traditional fish stew made from the fishermen’s leftovers, cooked in tomatoes. It seems to Stanley that cacciucco is the perfect embodiment of Tuscan cooking – making the best of limited ingredients rooted in a poor fishing community and Livorno’s immigrant past.
Searching for Italy episode 5 – Tuscany
Stanley Tucci Jr. is an American actor, writer, producer, and former fashion model. Involved in acting from a young age, he made his film debut in Sea Of Thieves (1969), and continued to play a variety of supporting roles in films such as John Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997), Sam Mendes’s Road to Perdition (2002), and Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal (2004). In 1996, he made his directorial debut with the cult comedy Big Night which he also co-wrote and starred in alongside Tony Shalhoub.
He also played Stanley Kubrick in the television film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Tucci is also known for his collaborations with Meryl Streep in films such as The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Julie & Julia (2009). Tucci gained further acclaim and success with such films as Burlesque (2010), Easy A (2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Margin Call (2011), The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015), Spotlight (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2017), and Supernova (2020).
He has won four Emmy Awards; one for Winchell (1998), one for a guest appearance on the comedy series Monk, one for being a producer of the web series Park Bench with Steve Buscemi and one for hosting and producing Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. Tucci was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Lovely Bones (2009). He was also nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (2003), and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, for The One and Only Shrek! alongside Meryl Streep.