Stanley Tucci talks Italy, Instagram, and his new cookware line
advertisement: The slogan running through your new line is “Enjoy your life through food,” which is a sort of payback for the subtitle of your 2021 book. Taste: My life through food. I’m curious how you arrived at this phrase and what it means to offer food as a lens or path through which you live and find joy in life.
Stanley Tucci: Growing up in an Italian family, food is pretty much everything. Food is a big part of Italian culture. What’s interesting is that the majority of Italian food actually came from necessity as the mother of invention. It was a very poor country, and had been invaded several times over the millennia, but it was a very fertile country. They are able to grow a lot from south to north, even though they are practically two completely different countries. They brought all that food with them when they migrated to where they migrated. Food was obviously a way for them to support themselves, but it was also a way to connect with each other, and it became very personal.
What did you feel was missing from the offerings on the market that you wanted to address with this line?
It’s very much my aesthetic. She likes to see what she likes to look at, so I want those things around me all the time. A lot of contemporary things are going to be really beautiful, but they’re not necessarily great when it comes to function, so I wanted to achieve that. I wanted something that wasn’t going to be ridiculously expensive if you were going to buy a set of it, or even if you were going to buy an individual piece, not crazy expensive like some cookware. And it’s easy to clean because I’m obsessed with cleaning.
Why was it necessary to produce the line in Italy?
For me, it had to be made in Italy, because we make a lot of things abroad, and we (import) a lot of things from China. Who benefits from that? Manufacturers. Production in Europe and America has been suffering for generations. So how can we make something that’s beautiful, practical, and doesn’t cost a lot? It’s more expensive, but it’s not crazy, and it’s made in Europe by unionized workers.
There’s an idea with big name brands, with any partnership between a big star and a big retailer, where you put your name on something and go on with your day. But you were very involved in this project and spent some time in Italy at the factory. What is the nature of your involvement there?
Oh yeah, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted these to look like. We went to Italy and talked to the guys at the factory. They sent some pictures of what they were working on, and I really liked it. Some of them weren’t exactly what I wanted. We looked at prototypes and plastic models, and the designer, Jan, was amazing. When he showed me the things he had come up with, he said, “I’ve studied you for months.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He saw my Instagram, looked at things in my kitchen, what I cooked with, my kitchen colors, my furniture, the way I dressed, and created things with that in mind.