Food Network and discovery+ are bringing Christmas cheer to their lineup with a new rom-com movie, now available for streaming.
“One Delicious Christmas” follows the story of Abby Richmond, played by Vanessa Marano, who owns the Haven Restaurant and Inn. Richmond took over the Inn when her family passed away, and is finding the responsibility to be too much.
“She can’t handle it anymore. She’s like, ‘Okay it’s fine, we’re functioning, we’re not going to go under any time soon, but we are going to go under because this is too much responsibility for me. I need a partner, I’m not going to be able to keep this place up by myself,'” said Marano. “She sees the writing on the wall, which I like about Abby, she has that business sense to get ahead of what the problems are going to be.”
In an effort to save the business, Richmond tries to secure an investment from restaurant mogul Alexandra Grandfield, but in order for Grandfield to invest, Richmond must a) update the menu with the help of a new chef, Preston Weaver (played by Alex Mallari, Jr.) and b) impress top food critic Tom Kingsley, played by Food Network’s own Bobby Flay.
Though resistant at first, Richmond relents and brings on Weaver to help vamp up the menu. And as the story goes on, Richmond and Weaver find that there might be a spark between them.
“I can tell you right there, a lot’s gonna happen between those two. A lot of conflict, a lot of flirting and essentially they are going to have to work together in a way so that they can both get what they want out of the situation, and what they want might not be what they need,” said Marano. “I’m really excited for any of the combative scenes between my character Abby and Alex’s character Preston at the beginning of the film, because those are so fun to shoot. It lays a fun place for their love story to come from such conflict and the comedy that we were able to infuse in that was a lot of fun to shoot.”
As a Christmas film lover herself, Marano was ecstatic to be able to take part in “One Delicious Christmas.” Though Christmas/holiday scripted movies are still a relatively new trail that Food Network and discovery+ are blazing, Marano says that the team working on the film was seasoned veterans in the space.
“It was great, you were surrounded by people who really were in the Christmas movie filming zeitgeist. our terrific director Stacy N. Harding has a great reputation with this, our producers had worked on it — you felt like you were in experienced hands,” said Marano. “But then there was this whole new excitement in that it is a streaming network like discovery+ and Food Network dipping their toe into the water and are relatively new to the game, so it was like this rush of energy being a part of one of the first few ones, but still that safety and comfort of people who know what they’re doing and have been in this game for a while.”
Like many of Food Network’s new scripted content, a familiar face from the cooking world was brought on set, this time with Flay playing a food critic. Marano says that Flay was great to work with, and she understands how it feels to step out of your comfort zone to fill a role that you’ve never done before.
“I have been a guest judge on ‘Chopped Jr.’ for the food network, that was me taking a step into a space where I said, ‘I don’t do this, I don’t judge food competitions,’ but the judges and everyone there made me feel so welcome and safe. We really wanted to make sure Bobby felt the same way,” said Marano. “We started those days with him and it was a riot, it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. For that to be your first toe step into the acting space, which I know he has done this before in a playing himself sort of situation, so I’m incredibly impressed with his ‘let’s go get ’em attitude behind that.”
In filming a Christmas movie, there are a lot of sentimentalities that come through for the actors on set. Marano herself was able to tap into her own Christmas memories in order to bring her character to life.
“There’s actually a line in the movie where Preston is trying to convince Abby to try something different with the menu, he says ‘The Italians do the feast of the seven fishes on Christmas Eve,’ and Abby was like, ‘Oh we don’t do that,’ but we do do that — my father is Italian so I felt seen by that line,” said Marano.
For Marano, having Food Network and discovery+ create Christmas movies is a match made in heaven, mostly because food is often a point of nostalgia for a lot of people’s holiday seasons.
“You do have these traditions, and a lot of the time these traditions are around food, around what your mom, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa made,” said Marano. “It really was a perfect partnership between Food Network and discovery+ to do Christmas movies because food is something more meaningful than nourishment. It’s memories, it’s nostalgia, and it’s a big part of Christmas in general.”
“One Delicious Christmas” is now streaming on discovery+.