Evil Queen charms Kelowna with appearance at Il Tavolino

Award-winning actress Lana Parrilla from the ABC show Once Upon a Time, was gracious and friendly,

Award-winning actress Lana Parrilla

An evil queen made a brief appearance in Kelowna this weekend and luckily for the hundreds who went to see her, she didn’t live up to her title.

Serving up gelato at Il Tavolino Italian Bistro in Kelowna Saturday, award-winning actress Lana Parrilla from the ABC show Once Upon a Time, was gracious and friendly, making time for both selfies and small-talk with fans who lined up for hours for a brush with their favourite celebrity.

Whether it was the odd fan squealing “I love Regina” or those who dressed up like characters from the fairytale driven show, it’s clear the wait was well worth it.

Nicole, 14, and Neeva, 10, Matthews waited over an hour in the line-up that was hundreds deep for a chance to see one of their  favourite characters in person.

“I really wanted to meet her,” said Nicole, who was hoping to get an autograph. “My sister and I both really like the show. I like fairtailes, and the plot twists on Once Upon a time make it more interesting.”

The girls also had some thoughts on whether Parrilla’s character would manage to escape her dark past, and become one of the good guys.

“I think she will (be good),” said Neeva. “She’s really interesting, and unique in her ways.”

Further down the queue one group of fans were turning heads with costumes cut right from the primetime program.

Colleen Bryant is a costume designer for independent movies, and dressed her crew for a proper viewing with the Evil Queen.

All five who traveled together are fans of the show, said Bryant.

“It inspires hope and magic and fantasy,” she said.

The actress made the appearance to Kelowna because she knows Il Tavolino owner and chef Alessandro De Angelis.

“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,” De Angelis (Sandro) said.

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,”  said 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.

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.

The event coincided with Il Tavolino’s one year anniversary.