Everything tasted just right When Patrick Met Kylie.
IT’S a love story that’s fit for the movies: she was a freelance journalist in Australia who left her family and career to seek a new life in Italy. He was a British lawyer who gave up a successful corporate career in London to become a chef.
She stumbled upon his blog and invited him to go on a food adventure with her in Italy, despite never having met him before. He agreed.
They met and discovered that they are kindred spirits, connected by their love of food and adventure.
When Patrick Met Kylie: A Love (Of Food) Story, however, isn’t a rom-com; it’s a 13-part travel and food series which sees Kylie Flavell and Patrick Drake travelling through the Italian peninsula in search of an authentic Italian food experience.
“I ran away to Italy because it was my dream … I adore Italy,” explains Flavell in a recent telephone interview with the Asian media.
“I lived there for four years … I studied the language and spent time with all these people, trying to learn recipes and I just wanted to share my passion for Italy and Italian food with the world.”
Flavell pitched the idea for an “escapist travel and food show” to various production companies and in 2010, her efforts paid off. A small production house picked up her idea and she spent a year trying to source for funding and also scouting for a “co-star”.
And then, she stumbled upon Drake’s cooking blog and was captivated. She contacted him immediately.
“I sent out this crazy e-mail and asked him if he would be interested in going on an adventure around Italy with me. I told him we would make a TV show about it. I told him, ‘You don’t know me but trust me. Fly out tomorrow and meet me in Rome’.
“It was a spontaneous proposal and I was actually quite worried when we met for the first time,” Flavell recounts.
For Drake, the unexpected e-mail was just the push he needed to start a brave, new adventure.
“I just knew that someday, someone was going to see what I was doing and they were going to feel the same way as I do. So when Kylie’s e-mail came through, I didn’t even hesitate. I thought, ‘This is it … this is what I’ve been waiting for’ and immediately jumped on it. Sometimes, you need to be a bit crazy and go with your gut,” he shares.
Call it serendipity or a mutual love of food, but the two self-confessed dreamers made their dreams a reality rather quickly.
In When Patrick Met Kylie: A Love (Of Food) Story (which airs every Friday at 7pm on TLC, Astro Ch 707) the two travel from big cities to rustic villages, Michelin-starred restaurants to family-run trattorias in their quest to discover “la dolce vita” (the sweet life).
At the end of each episode, they prepare a homemade meal for the friends they make along the way.
“We never cook in a studio. There isn’t perfect lighting or people choreographing the episode. It’s real and natural. It has been like a road trip … we show secrets about Italy that you’ll never see as a tourist. Food is taken very seriously (in Italy). And to be in a place where everyone is obsessed with food is our dream,” says Flavell.
Adds Drake: “I remember one episode where we were with locals … farmers and a couple of chefs in the middle of a field in this farm and we decided to have a picnic. So, I started preparing some food right there, on the grass, and then one of the farmer’s pigs attacked me and starting eating all the food.
“Not just the food, the plates too. I haven’t seen a cooking show on TV where someone actually has to fight with a pig in order to make a meal. So, yeah, that makes the experience so unique.”
Among the places Flavell and Drake visit include the infamous Sassi de Matera (stones of Matera) – ancient cave dwellings in the Italian city of Metera in Basilicata where they learn to make local lamb stew and hunt for truffles, the Amalfi Coast where they visit a quaint fishing village where Drake tries his hand at a zucchini parmigiana and a simple pasta and Naples where Drake convinces the chef of a local restaurant that he can make a decent spaghetti alle vongole.
Though the pair are eager to talk about their love for food, they are a little more cryptic about the nature of their relationship, sharing with us what they tell their fans who often ask the same question – “You’ll have to watch the series.”
“When you see the show, you will definitely see that from start to finish, our relationship definitely changes,” Flavell says, evasively. “I’ve never met anyone like Patrick. He makes me laugh so much. And this adventure would not have been the same with anyone else.”