Italian Cookery School

Celebrity Taste of Italy starts 29th September at 9pm on Channel 5


Five famous faces are heading to Italy in search of La Dolce Vita. Judith Chalmers, Rula Lenska, Johnny Ball, Ian Lavender and the Green Goddess Diana Moran are heading to a beautiful Tuscan villa from which they’ll explore the wonders of Italian life as well as learning to cook some of the classic dishes of the country.

Their pursuit for perfect Pasta and the like will be entwined with them learning the language, meeting the locals and learning how to live like Italians. Across the series our five national treasures will take in all Tuscany has to offer with trips to the beautiful hilltop town of Cortona, the beauty of Sienna, Opera in Lucca as well as seeing all Florence has to offer. But as well as the must see tourist towns they’ll also get a really authentic taste of life in Italy as they learn from a local cook the great dishes of this country.

In episode 1, Judith Chalmers, Rula Lenska, Johnny Ball, Ian Lavender and the Green Goddess Diana Moran are en route to Tuscany for the start of an Italian adventure. They’re coming to all holiday together in a villa on the outskirts of Cortona – a medieval hilltop town that welcomes tourists with open arms into its pretty piazzas and cobbled streets.

First stop as they drive through the beautiful countryside is their home for their stay – Villa Felice which translates as “Happy Villa”. And on arrival the gang are in fine form and raring to start their odyssey in Tuscany. They’re here to learn how to cook the classic dishes of the region…everything from Gorgeous Gnocchi to perfect pasta. But with plenty of time off around the cookery classes they’ll also be able to explore the sites of the region, Siena, Luca and Florence.

But first they must all settle in to life together in the villa. Finding their rooms, unpacking and getting used to their new holiday mates. Judith despite her extensive travels has a lot to unpack, Johnny is already missing his wife who in 40 odd years of marriage he’s only spent three nights away from and it’s all a bit emotional for Rula whose first true love was an Italian and the trip is bringing back fond memories already.

But with the unpacking done its time to get on and learn how to make the perfect lunch of Antipasti classics like grilled vegetables, aged cheeses and ham as well as the freshest tomatoes stuffed with ricotta. On hand is local cook Simonetta Demarchi to show them all of the simple tricks and tips of Italian rustic cooking.

But with so much food on offer, Diana is keen to get back in green and give our gang a morning workout to burn off the excess calories. All of them are game even though as Ian points out Diana made them all exercise uphill!

Once they’re all settled in Rula and Diana, the only two singletons in the party turn their conversation to the idea of finding an Italian Stallion on their trip – and it’s not long before Rula does, in the form of a local fisherman who catches the Polish countesses eye as well as some fresh fish for their dinner. Its all just harmless flirting but is the perfect start for Rula’s journey as it makes her feel “attractive and alive”.

All in all their first few days in the Tuscan hills is about unwinding, slowing down and getting in to the relaxed pace of life in the glorious corner of Italy.

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