Netflix’s From Scratch: Is the TV Show Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Stefano Montesi/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘From Scratch’ follows the story of Amy and Lino, who meet each other in Florence, Italy. Lino is a chef from Sicily and Amy is an art student from America. There are a lot of challenges in front of them, but they overcome them together while chasing their dreams in Los Angeles. Just when it looks like things have taken a turn for the better, a tragic event upends their lives. What follows is a heartbreaking tale of love, loss, and strength in the face of all odds.

Created by Tembi Locke and Attica Locke, the show follows Amy and Lino’s love story from the beginning to the end and realistically portrays the many challenges in a relationship with two people from very different cultural backgrounds and complicated family histories. If this makes you wonder whether the narrative of ‘From Scratch’ is rooted in reality, here’s everything you should know!

From Scratch: A Love Story Rooted in Reality

Yes, ‘From Scratch’ is based on a true story. The drama series is inspired by co-creator Tembi Locke’s best-selling memoir ‘From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home’ published in 2019. Much like it happens in the Netflix series, Locke met Rosario “Saro” Gullo, a Sicilian chef, while she was in Florence. They fell in love, moved to Los Angeles, got married, and adopted a child named Zoela. But sadly, Saro died in 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Locke wrote the book as a love letter to her late husband, his homeland, and their daughter.

Image Credit: Jessica Brooks/Netflix

Locke started writing about her and Saro’s story after he was diagnosed with cancer. “I cut back on acting but still needed a creative outlet. It became a way to document and unpack this big life experience,” she told Evereve. However, the idea of actually turning her writings into a full-fledged book hit her when she was in Sicily. In conversation with Shondaland, she said, “I was seated with my young daughter and across from us my mother-in-law at the dinner table at the end of what had been like the perfect summer day.”

Locke continued, “And I had a thought: How did we get here, especially given where we started AND given that the only person connecting us is gone? That question felt like the making of a book,” she said. It took another two years for Locke to actually start working on the book, but once she was done with it, things moved forward very quickly. Her sister, Attica, who’d worked on ‘Little Fires Everywhere,’ produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, was in talks to work on other projects. By then, Tembi had finished her book but it wasn’t yet published.

When Lauren Neustadter, the head of the company, talked about a story that would focus on the complicated relationship between a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law, Attica thought of her sister’s story. “All of a sudden, I told her how my sister wrote a book. I got so excited and started talking a mile a minute, and I pitched the book from the top all the way through. I called Tembi from the valet and said, Oops, I might have pitched your whole book to the head of Hello Sunshine. I hope you’re okay with that,” she said.

In bringing the story to the screen, a couple of changes were made. The names of the characters were changed, which “allowed them to be of the actual people, but free to move about the cabin in their own kind of way.” In the show, Amy, unlike Tembi, is an actress and a visual artist. Amy’s sister, Zora, is a teacher, but in real life, Tembi’s sister, Attica, is a writer and film and TV producer. Apart from this, the drama was also dialed up a little, especially when it came to Amy and Lino’s families.

“Our family, God love ’em, they’re hilarious, but they’re not nearly as crazy as they come across in the show. So, that was our approach: to have a North star, but let the story evolve,” Attica Locke added. Through her story, Tembi hopes to represent “an understanding of the indomitable power of love. Romantic love, parental love, love of food and place—love in all its forms. And also the healing power of forgiveness, and understanding that our differences are nothing compared to our similarities.”

Despite all the changes, the core of the show remains the same, and the string of events closely follows the real events in Tembi Locke’s life. Writing ‘From Scratch’ as well as turning it into a series, was an emotional experience for her, but she found that it was important to send her story out into the world so that others who have met with grief, loss, and love in their lives can relate to it and find comfort in it.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s From Scratch Filmed?