Opening Italy follows Canadian top chefs Rob Rossi and Craig Harding who recently fulfilled their life long dreams of building their own successful restaurants and now want to connect to their Italian roots by exploring the country and learning the basics of rustic Italian cooking to bring back into their own kitchens.

GENRE: Lifestyle
LENGTH: 8 x 30 min




Craig Harding and Rob Rossi have lived the dream of opening their own restaurants. But now it’s time for the next adventure: an epic food and wine tour across Italy, seeking research, inspiration and a good time.  After departing Toronto the chefs head to a beautiful, rustic farm and winery called Poggio Foco.

Francesco, the owner, shows off the stunning Tuscan property before taking them for a special lunch at a local rustic restaurant. Back at Poggio Foco he  takes them to his vineyard where they roll up their sleeves and help harvest the last of the season’s grapes.  As the sun sets over the vineyard they enjoy happy hour as Francesco presents them with an artisanal prosciutto leg.


After waking up early Rob and Craig take a tour of Poggio Foco to spot the elusive wild boar that inhabit the farm. In the afternoon Francesco takes them into town where they have lunch at a well known chef’s home/restaurant. They join him in the kitchen and see how he prepares his home-made pasta before heading outdoors for a fabulous meal.

Then it’s on to an old castle, a beer in the town centre and a visit to a local butcher. After watching him make sausages they are served something they never thought they would eat: a raw sausage sandwich.


The chefs head to the Tuscan coast to live one of Rob’s dreams: rustic fishing on the ocean. Their guide is a local fisherman and together they pull in all sorts of interesting fish and squid.

After fishing, Craig and Rob are taken for another great lunch by Francesco, this time at a beachfront restaurant.  Back at Poggio Foco everyone is gearing up for a big dinner party.  Our chefs head into the kitchen where they each create beautiful dishes with the fish that was caught.  More fish are thrown onto a smoking barbecue which Craig mans with excellent results.  A final cheers is given as everyone celebrates their final night at Poggio Foco.


Craig and Rob leave Tuscany and head north to Parma and a mountain top farm. After a long day of driving the hosts have a hearty meal ready for them.

To their surprise and delight the owners’ son is an expert in mushrooms. He takes them foraging in the hills where they discover multiple types of edible mushrooms.  The chefs then drive to Parma’s city centre and sit down for lunch to taste the local ham and cheese.  Afterwards they tour the streets in search of refreshment in the local bars.


Rob and Craig begin a tour of local food factories to see how some of their favorite products are made.  First up is a Parma cheese house where the owner shows all the steps that are taken to make their high quality Parmigiana.

The tour continues at an incredible winery at the base of a stunning castle. The owner showcases his vineyard and hosts a tasting session.  The chefs then head to a salami house where Rob, a charcuterie expert, is keen to see how their products are made.  Next up is a boutique prosciutto factory. After seeing every step of the process they are brought to a huge curing room filled thousands of massive hams.

The next morning they jump on a plane to Pisticci, deep in the south. There they visit GP, a friend from back home staying with relatives.  GP drives them to the ancient white washed town where his aunt cooks up an epic home cooked meal.


GP takes the chefs to the local bar where they meet a master baker. He shows how to make a classic dessert specific to the town.  They plan a barbecue for that night where Rob and Craig will cook for GP’s family and friends at their farmhouse outside of town.  They walk around the old town looking for meat and vegetable produce.  With the shopping complete the guys head to the farm where they build a fire with the help of GP’s hundred-year-old Nono.

The chefs then prep the lamb and make fresh pasta for the huge feast.  Despite the chirping from GP’s family, Craig cooks the lamb and sausage to perfection. Finally they all sit down and toast this magical event.


For a change of pace Craig and Rob check a boutique hotel built in an ancient farm compound. That night they bring their knives into the kitchen and help the hotel chef cook dinner for the guests.

The next day Rob and Craig go their separate ways. Craig heads up to Treviso for his cousin’s wedding. With his Mom and Nona in attendance he gets to experience a traditional Italian wedding that includes a ten hour feeding frenzy.

Rob and GP go straight to Rome by train.  Once they arrive they check into a rooftop apartment overlooking the city. That night they meet a friend who takes them to a respected trattoria for Rob’s favourite pasta dish, the cacio e pepe.


Craig arrives in Rome where both chefs want to go out with a bang on their last night in Italy. They decide to invite a group of Roman scenesters to try their take on classic Roman cuisine. First they head to an outdoor market to get inspiration and fresh products for their menu. With their groceries in hand they head back to the apartment and start prepping the dishes while sipping cocktails and beer.

As the sun sets Rob lights the barbecue on the rooftop terrace. They send out appetizers for the appreciative guests that include deep fried artichokes and a raw porcini mushroom dish that they discovered in Parma.  The main dishes include Rob’s take on the cacio e pepe pasta, barbecued marinated quail, bean salad and sausage.  Everyone is ecstatic about the food.

Francesco, the owner of Poggio Foco shows up with bottles of champagne for one final toast to an epic food tour that has come to an end.