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TV chef David Rocco gets cooking with Barilla

Pasta maker to launch program to promote family dinners

Barilla has a new cook in its kitchen. Celebrity chef David Rocco (pictured) has signed on to become the Markham, Ont.-based pasta maker’s brand ambassador.

The host of TV shows such as David Rocco’s Dolce Vita will take part in promotions, public relations initiatives and video content on social media for the brand.

He will also develop pasta recipes to be shared with consumers, says Martin Kuev, marketing director at Barilla Canada.

“We've partnered with David to focus specifically on our classic Blue Box pastas and to drive home the message that pasta really is a simple, go-to, delicious meal that can not only be ready in mere minutes, but can also help families reconnect at the dinner table,” Kuev told Canadian Grocer in an email.

Rocco’s first major campaign for Barilla will be in April for an initiative called “Share the Table,” to promote the importance of families eating together.

Launched in the U.S. in 2011, Share the Table emerged from research that found Americans view dinnertime as the top way to reconnect as families. The campaign included the microsite, blogger content and promotions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (#sharethetable).

Share the Table is being introduced to Canada this year. The program works “nicely with one of Barilla's most important goals: to connect families at the dinner table, and make mealtime a meaningful experience,” Kuev said.

Retailers can expect to see in-store signage and promotions related to Share the Table starting in April.

Rocco, who hails from Toronto, is known for hosting TV shows that mix food and travel. David Rocco’s Dolce Vita airs on the Food Network in Canada, as well as in more than 150 other countries.

Rocco is also the author of three cookbooks, including Made in Italy and David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.

“Cooking and eating quality food has always been a way of life for me and my family,” Rocco said in a statement. “As a Barilla ambassador, I look forward to sharing those experiences and helping Canadians live the sweet life, one delicious dish at a time.”

Barilla is a family-owned company founded in Parma, Italy in 1877. The partnership with Rocco is only for the Canadian market.

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