A sweet one-on-one with acclaimed actor Stanley Tucci

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MONTREAL — In one of the imposing vaulted rooms of Montreal’s Four Seasons Hotel, sits award-winning actor, director and producer Stanley Tucci, impeccably dressed and beautifully set off against a white sofa. Tucci’s posture is impeccable and he wears a classic mid-rise light blue suit with a detailed tie, beige shoes and robin’s egg blue socks with tiny soft yellow patterns.

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Tucci is elegance personified as he leans slightly forward, with a small, welcoming smile on his silky smooth face.

I hesitate for a second before letting go, a little loudly, Buongiorno, signor Tucci, come sta oggi? (Hello, Mr. Tucci! How are you?) to which he looked a little surprised, quickly recovering to greet me with an even bigger smile. “Italian?” he asks. “Proudly Canadian, but equally proud of my heritage,” I reply, setting the stage for a wonderful conversation about food and cocktails, his visits to Canada and how much he loves the country and some of his favorite restaurants across the country. .

Tucci is wonderful, warm and engaging as we discuss everything from the joy of Italian cuisine to the reaction to his CNN series, Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy, to find himself a star judge for the Diageo World Class Canada competition, which recently took place in Montreal.

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Stanley Tucci with other judges at the recent World Class Canada Bartender of the Year, 2022 in Montreal. Photo provided /Diegeo

(Toronto’s Massimo Zitti was recently crowned World Class Bartender of the Year in Canada, 2022 and will continue to compete globally in September in Australia. In a previous interview, Zitti mentioned that Tucci was one of toughest judges on the panel, which made him work even harder to earn the coveted position.)

Throughout our conversation, Tucci discusses his work and love of fine dining as well as the art of creating the perfect cocktail – he is, after all, the brand’s global partner for Tanqueray No. Ten.

He answers questions thoroughly, but asks a few thoughtfully in return.

And he is honest. When asked if he had any idea how popular his CNN series was, he neutrally shakes his head and says, “No, honestly, I had no idea it would take off like this,” adding how much he enjoyed his culinary travels through Italy, excited about the new series, as well as his adventures in Puglia and Calabria (the American-born actor’s Italian heritage is Calabrian.)

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And, although famous for his film roles as The devil wears Prada, Julia and Julia, Tucci clearly opened the culinary floodgates when he made his directorial debut with the 1996 cult classic big night, which he co-wrote and starred alongside Tony Shalhoub. This iconic food film, set in the United States but filmed in Toronto, was the story of two sparring brothers who were also chefs – one who wanted to bring authentic Italian cuisine to the brothers’ fledgling restaurant. , while the other just wanted to keep the status quo with an Americanized version of the real deal.

Moviegoers embraced the film with open hearts as the film was truly priceless, showcasing Tucci’s genuine reverence for authentic Italian cuisine, which years later he would ably showcase on his CNN series. Add to that a recent book, Stanley Tucci’s Taste: my life through food (Gallery Books; Simon & Schuster Canada), in which he offers a touching and intimate recollection of his life in an Italian kitchen, where family dinners were part of the fabric of his upbringing, and you recognize how much his love of the traditional , authentic Italian cuisine.

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Tucci is also making a splash in the cocktail world – his three-minute video showing how to whip up the perfect Negroni went viral last year, attracting over a million viewers. He started creating a series of cocktail tutorials soon after.

When asked what he looks for in a cocktail, Tucci replies, “I don’t like drinks that are too complex, but ones that taste pure with bright tones. He was also up for the challenge of judging this year’s contest, saying he was looking for the same elements in the cocktails that would be featured.

Tucci’s sister-in-law, Emily Blunt, described him in a recent People magazine article as charismatic, warm and energetic: “A complete Renaissance man who knows the way to everyone’s heart. So true. When it was time to leave, we exchanged a few more words in Italian, and I told him how much Canada loved him, which made him smile, as he posed for a photo, putting thoughtfully his arm around my shoulder in a friendly embrace. .

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