Tysha Williams & Donato Ricci
We are delighted to welcome into The Green Room a duo that were recently nominated at our North Europe International Film Festival with their project 'The Gourmet High'- Welcome Tysha Williams & Donato Ricci!
In a society of food lovers and such a variety of different cuisines and cultures it is always interesting to see new approaches taken when putting food on screen. The focus of ingredients in particular Cannabis in your series is quite controversial,although very commercialised. Can you both tell me how the process developed and how the idea came to be?
Donato- In the midst of so much controversy and mainstream approaching tv shows about cooking with cannabis, I saw the opportunity to actually show everyday people from all different backgrounds and professions in a hospitable, living room setting. The producer and myself birthed The Gourmet high. I desired to showcase not just mouth watering cuisines but a total enlightenment experience that is met by the many differences that make us all unique. Each guest with different outlooks on why they do or do not consume cannabis in order to take point of views that you have not gotten on a cooking show. Including food made sense for two reasons: one “hello” everybody will get hungry after smoking and second, I have passion for cooking and hospitality.
Tysha- Yes, Donato’s history in hospitality, love for food, appreciation:paired with his knowledge and personal journey with cannabis was the creative force in bringing this vision to pass. I too had an interesting history with the beloved plant that was later met with knowledge, clarity and a medical needs in adulthood. Needless to say I was misinformed for years on the plant and credit some very poignant individuals in my life for that alternative awareness. I wanted to share and join conversations with so many others who champion it.
Tysha you work as a Producer, Actress & Model, in an industry that is ever changing. Do you think you need to follow a trend of what content is popular in order to be successful, or can new and original ideas come out victorious too?
You know, I think this question is two parts because as a performer (actress/dancer/model) we are and can be very much so dictated by trends and popular outlines and especially as a performer that’s female and of color. The bars are higher and the opportunities are less. However, I do think this is and has grown into a great time to be a creator and independent one at that. Social media has changed the way information is consumed and widened the playing field for concepts that might not usually be considered. It allows the masses to demand and drive a concept or idea to the people just based on LIKES alone.
Longevity and Bankable are no longer synonymous longevity is not necessarily the #1 demand as much as will it capture the audience immediately and how we can leverage this opportunity for the next. It’s no surprise the amount of content that is out now consistently on many APP demanded devices. in Producing you on
In 2014 you launched ALL SMILES PRODUCTIONS, tell us a little bit about your mission and what you are hoping to achieve?
The launch of All Smiles Productions,LLC. came about at a very interesting time personally and professionally. Long story short, I wanted more control over the direction I wanted to go as an artist and creative. I was becoming more and more fond of other positions in the business as I studied and honed different talents. My goal is to produce moving, conversational pieces of work that inspire work, (because work begets work, right ) introspection and dialog on a global scale. My love for entertaining doesn’t just start and stop with me, I enjoy collaborating with and watching other artists. I feel there is now so much more opportunity to do independent work that’s seen and acclaimed. I want no more limitations on my creativity and to create inclusive entertaining experiences.
Donato...the skilled chef and restaurateur! It's no secret I love my food and follow so many chefs and restaurants across TV & social media. You have had quite the journey from Catania to the United States. Once you had found the passion for hospitality I guess you couldn't imagine doing anything else?
Well the optimal goal is turning food into a philanthropic mission, I think good awareness and education could fix a thing or two about the way we treat our planet, how can we feed the less fortunate and how to eat healthier. Skies the limit.
Similar to media content I guess you have to keep on top of trends and new ideas to keep guests happy and your food exciting?
Donato-Absolutely, I keep up with trends and follow the teaching of so many talented chefs out there, definitely my favorite perk of social media. Although my cooking turns to the ingredients and the cultural background, it’s fun to challenge yourself to give your own spin to a dish.
A question to you both, what is the hope for The Gourmet High, do you feel the controversy will make it more appealing to the wider audience?
Donato- We live in Los Angeles California, one of the 1st states that legalised recreational consumption. In everyday life you see tons of people from every background and walk of life consuming the plant in different ways from edibles to flower, topical solution the list goes on. I want to tell the story of those people… It is so normal for many people that are battling cancer, depression, anxiety, eating disorder that it’s just fair to forget about the controversy and focus on the good that it does. Tysha- from a producer stand point I think it makes it more appealing. There’s an education factor that I learned from and enjoyed forming my own option on than told and of course paired with gourmet cuisine, how could one resist. Its Edutainment at its finest. And well a little controversy seems to go over well these days…lol
Tysha, I mentioned before that you wear a few different hats in the industry! What is your favourite role to take on?
Ah, a question I would get so often a few years back now is much less prevalent and I’m happy about it, it shows progression on individuals growth, lack of limitations and presence of creative wealth. I simply can’t choose. I love all the hats I wear because they are passions, gifts and paths I felt compelled to expand on and I have continuously grown in them. I’m no way bored. I love creating in all its aspects…I do however feel there could be a possible natural progression towards more behind the scenes as time progresses but I doubt I will ever take a back seat fully as performer. As for now, producers and artists still have my heart.
Donato- if you could travel anywhere in the world and work alongside any chef, who would it be and why?
Francis Malmann, he is my biggest inspiration, he brings cooking to the rawest form back to the origins using direct flame and most of all doing it outdoors. There is so much poetry on forgetting about White cloth and fancy glasses and actually for a second enjoy nature what has to offer.
What can we expect next from both of you?
Tysha- I 2nd that motion! Most definitely getting The Gourmet High series picked up and in full production is top priority. I truly feel it would be a great and viable addition to content needy Terrain. Also, my other project that is nominated here also,Love is a battlefield, I would like to finally get made with the budget deserving of it. I’ve gotten the most amazing feedback on this script and am confident it’s not IF it’s WHEN. I’m also working on some smaller projects for creative expression and narrative as a performer and look forward to adding those pieces to my repertoire while on my new management search. I’m a ball to work with, I promise:-)….Thank you for having us! all the best to all them phenomenal filmmakers.