Fans of the TV series Once Upon A Star who love Italian food are in for a treat on Saturday.
Award-winning actress Lana Parrilla, best known as Mayor Regina Mills and The Evil Queen in the ABC adventure fantasy drama, plans to visit the Okanagan, stopping at Kelowna’s Il Tavolino Italian Bistro to serve coffee and Gelato to customers and local fans between 3 and 4 p.m.
Il Tavolino owner and chef Alessandro De Angelis (Sandro) is busting with enthusiasm about Parrilla’s pending visit.
“When I first heard she wanted to come here and spend some time behind the counter, I was blown away. Then, my second thought was, I’d better start making some meatballs,” he laughed.
Parrilla attended a dinner prepared by De Angelis in Vancouver during her first years with the series.
“I will never forget that meal, the food was extraordinary,” recalled Parrilla. “The meatballs were melt-in-your mouth tasty. I quickly got in touch with Sandro so I could bring some home, put my name on them and hide them on my side of the fridge.”
Parrilla has made De Angelis’ Italian cooking part of her family’s go-to menu ever since.
“We love cooking special meals and really enjoy authentic food,” explained Parrilla.
“That’s why we decided to come to Kelowna. Sandro’s told us so much about the Okanagan landscape, the food, the weather, the wines…we had to come see for ourselves.”
Originally from New York, Parrilla moved to Vancouver in 2011.
Like Parrilla, De Angelis is also new to the area. He grew up in Montreal but like many who come to the Okanagan, he craved a quieter, healthier lifestyle for himself and his young family.
After completing his culinary training in Florence, Italy, he moved to Kelowna and created Il Tavolino Italian Bistro.
“We opened in August of last year,” said De Angelis. “And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our one-year anniversary.
“I love a full kitchen. Watching people laugh and tell stories over a good meal, that’s what it’s all about.”
Those keen to meet Parrilla, have a coffee and try some home-made Italian cuisine, are invited to drop by. Il Tavolino Italian Bistro, located at 3200 Richter St. in the Mission, next to Save-On-Foods.