JACKSON, Miss. – In season two of Palate to Palette, chef Robert St. John and watercolorist Wyatt Waters share delectable dishes and serene scenes from their tour of Tuscany in Italy. New episodes will air Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. April 5 through May 24 on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Television.
While writing their third book together, An Italian Palate, St. John says he and Waters fell in love with the food, scenery, people, architecture and culture of Italy. “We wanted to share that love with Mississippians,” he said. “Everything we discovered while writing the book will be featured on the show.”
“The first season of Palate to Palette was really popular with our viewers,” said John Gibson, MPB Director of Television. “I think this new season, set entirely in Tuscany, will be another hit. Robert and Wyatt bring their energy and humor and sense of discovery and make you feel like you’re right there on the trip with them."
In many ways, Mississippians may be able to relate to the lifestyle of those in Tuscany.
“It’s a rural community with an agricultural base and a lot of farmers,” Waters said. “The difference is instead of (growing) tomatoes and corn, there’s olives and vineyards.”
“Tuscany reminds me of the American South. It’s an agrarian society all about food with friendly, hospitable people,” said St. John. “Mississippians will see a lot of similarities and be able to put faces with names of our Italian friends mentioned in the book.”
Highlights of their tour include dining at a Michelin Star Restaurant, marveling at Michelangelo’s David, rare access to the Museum of the Orca and a stop at the Uffizi Gallery. They visit Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, Tavernelle, Barbarino and Panzano. They also take viewers away from tourist hot spots and visit where locals eat.
St. John presents some authentic dishes from the tour. “You don’t know true Italian food until you get there,” he said. He became a fan of a family restaurant and now knows where to get the best risotto and meatballs.
Waters captures Tuscany’s beauty in several paintings and enjoyed following in the footsteps of revered watercolorist John Singer Sargent whom he greatly admires. Sargent painted the famous Madame X in 1884.
“He did his best work here, and I can see why he went there. It’s a great place,” Waters said. “I can’t think of another culture that has as much to do with art and food. I hope Mississippians are inspired to travel after seeing this. Travel is such a great thing because you find out people are the same anywhere.”