How I got to stand next to cooking legends on the red carpet (a true story)

I was honored last Monday winning the Bob Saget Award for Best Comedy and Humor at the Taste Awards in Beverly Hills. The award is a huge pat on the back for all the hard work we put into our little film Disco Sauce: The True Story of Penne Alla Vodka, a seemingly ridiculous subject to make a very serious documentary about, but I guess that’s comedy folks. The best part about all this is meeting some of my legends like Lidia Bastianich and Al Roker, two food fanatics that I grew up with. Honored doesn’t even cover it. 

How I got here is pretty simple: I love food and filmmaking. After our success with our previous documentary Italy in Bocca, which takes a personal deep dive into an amazingly rare cardboard cookbook series from Italy in the 70’s, we wanted to do something even more special and perhaps insane. 

I love food and filmmaking, but find that a lot of streaming content leaves me a bit, well, hungry for more. I love watching celeb chefs whip up flawless meals in their perfectly manicured home studio kitchens as much as I love watching famous actors trapes around Italy eating perfect bowls of pasta in fresh starched shirts. Neither of these experiences come close to the experience I personally have with really good food. I feel unconnected to these shows, as I think anyone my age or younger does, which is why we consume UGC on TikTok like crack fiends. We need the authentic, organic reality that comes with the world of food, and that is exactly what we went after with Disco Sauce: The True Story of Penne Alla Vodka. 

I wanted to prove you didn’t need fame, celebrity or even money to go have your own food adventure and celebrate the ultimate power of really good food: bringing people together. That’s why my friend Peter Boggia and I set out with camera in hand to have the ultimate expedition into one of the silliest dishes out there, Penne Alla Vodka. 

What we discovered is that what we’re passionate about, others are too. Amazing chefs, ingredient curators, historians, chemists, artisans all were happy to sit down with us and aid in our journey. We did everything by hand, paid for it in passion, and the result is a film that apparently transmits that energy to audiences, delighting and making people hungry for more. 

So far the film has won way more awards than we ever thought, and been in some festivals that I thought were reserved for big budgeted work. To be celebrated alongside luminaries like Lidia Bastianich was nothing less than a dream come true. To meet other filmmakers, producers and passionate epicureans to build our network for the next project is a gift that has no price tag. To think it all came out of a simple question … “what is this” as we looked down at our tinplate of penne alla vodka. Who knew the answer would be so involved and prolific. It was well worth almost going to jail for, and hopefully has inspired others to go have their own food adventure no matter the costs, because the payback is, well, very satisfying. 

About Roberto Serrini:

Roberto is a food and travel filmmaker who lends his unique taste to global brands like Nike, Honda and Apple. He is an avid travel writer and food maker, and has never met a dish he did not like to try. You can find out more about him and see his work at or follow his travel adventures on his TravelClast YouTube Channel.