A Mom-and-Son Road Trip to Remember: Vinny & Ma Eat America

Find out more about Vinny & Ma Eat America from Vinny himself, and watch a preview on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 10|9c.
Vinny and Paola

Vinny + Ma Eat America

Photo by: Michael Starghill Jr. ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Starghill Jr., 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

On Vinny & Ma Eat America, airing Sunday, Sept. 25 at 10|9c, Vinny Guadagnino and his mom, Paola, are going on a road trip, but not just any kind. Paola may be the best cook in her big Italian family, but the problem is that she only cooks and eats Italian, according to Vinny. So he's decided to take her on a culinary road trip of a lifetime, to taste and discover delicious food she's never tried. What makes this mother and son cross-country adventure so special is seeing Vinny and Paola experience it all together, and the natural hilarity that ensues is heartwarming.

FN Dish recently caught up with Vinny to chat about the road trip and his relationship with his mom. Read on to find out the story behind this adventure.

How would you characterize the relationship you have with your mom? You two seem to be hilarious together.

Vinny Guadagnino: She is the best mom in the world. We didn't have much when I was growing up, but she always had a feast ready on the table.  She never left us hungry, that’s for sure. I happen to be her only son, so I'm sort of her prince in the Italian household. However, my relationship with her is comical, because she really is the funniest person I know, and after all these years I figured out just exactly how to push her buttons to bring out that natural humor.

Why did you decide to do this road trip with her?

VG: My mom moved from Sicily to Staten Island when she was 10, and she never left. All of my family lives within a few blocks of each other, and we do not like getting out of our comfort zone (including eating new things). So I thought it would be funny to make my mom visit some places she's never been and eat food she's never eaten before. It was a way for her to finally get out of her kitchen and experience life a little bit.

Now you've done a lot of shows with your mom, including most recently The Great Food Truck Race. How does this experience traveling and eating around the country compare to all the others?

VG: This was the craziest experience by far. An epic road trip with your mom is a little out there; however, the love we have for each other and the constant comedy of her being a fish out of water made it very enjoyable.

What are some of the places, restaurants or activities you seek out when you're on the road?

VG: When we visit a state, we usually like to try the local cuisine, which is always foreign to my mom — such as barbecue in Atlanta or Creole food in New Orleans. Although I do make my mom eat odd food like Rocky Mountain oysters and alligator, you don't need to search very far to place her out of her comfort zone. We also like to get my mom in the kitchen (her favorite place) in the restaurants to learn new dishes, and we usually end the trip with a sweet treat that she enjoys.

Have you ever tried looking for Italian food in the places where you've gone? Or would your mom get offended?

VG: We very rarely eat Italian food out. My mom is such an amazing cook; no other Italian food compares. Besides, this whole experience is to make her do once-in-a-lifetime experiences that she's been avoiding her whole life, so it would defeat the purpose.

What are some things you and your mom learned about each other through the experience?

VG: I learned that although my mom rarely leaves Staten Island, she actually loves traveling. She always watches old movies, the news and TV shows, and when she gets out to see the world she gets filled with joy from the things she's seen on TV her whole life. It's really fun to watch.

Would you do a road trip like this again? And where would you take your mom next? What's on your list or her list?

VG: I would love to keep taking her on road trips. There are a lot of cool places in this country that she's never been, such as Chicago, Orlando, or maybe we'll cross a border and head to Canada! But wherever we end up, my mom’s reactions to all these different lifestyles are so unique and absurd it will definitely be a cause for laughter.

Watch Vinny & Ma Eat America on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 10|9c.

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