Is From Scratch a true story? A tale of love and loss

From Scratch

From Scratch on Netflix tells a story of unexpected love and heartbreaking loss. The show’s protagonist, Amy Wheeler, played by Zoe Saldana, falls in love with a Sicilian chef named Lino. Through love and laughter, the couple overcomes several challenges and appears destined for a happy life together until doctors diagnose Lino with a rare cancer. 

Zoe Saldana, who’s married to an Italian man, told People she related to the experiences of her character: 

“It’s not for the faint of heart when you marry somebody who comes with a big baggage of 4,000 years of history and art and philosophy. And great cuisine. It’s a lot to handle in just one simple day.”

From Scratch is based on the romance between Tembi Locke and her late husband

Tembi Locke and her late husband
Courtesy of Tembi Locke

Attica, Tembi Locke’s sister, pitched the idea for an adaptation of Tembi’s memoir before it was published. Lauren Levy Neustadter, an executive at Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine, loved the book and invited the sisters to start working on an adaptation. 

When Tembi was 20, she moved to Sicily as part of a university exchange program. In Sicily, she fell in love with Saro, a Sicilian chef. Eventually, the couple started a life in Los Angeles. 

Life was difficult for the chef and the aspiring actor, but the couple fought through the struggles together. Tragedy struck when Saro was diagnosed with a rare soft-tissue cancer. He battled valiantly but succumbed to the disease in 2012. 

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi chronicled the couple’s unlikely love story, Saro’s death, and life after Saro. The Netflix mini-series relies heavily on the memoir’s content, though some of the scenes and storylines are fictionalized. 

Tembi and Attica changed several things in the adaptation

Attica and Tembi
Attica and Tembi are creators and executive producers of a new Netflix series, “From Scratch,” | Jenny Walters/Houston Chronicle

The Locke sisters changed several things in the film adaptation. For instance, the characters’ names don’t match their real-life counterparts. “I needed the space to allow the character to grow, to bend and to fictionalize things,” Tembi told TODAY

However, most of the adaptation stays true to the facts. Some scenes were so emotional that the sisters couldn’t bear to watch them filmed. “We would check in with each other, and we would protect each other,” Tembi told The New York Times

Zoe Saldana admired the love between Tembi and Attica. She said: “It was beautiful to watch how protective Attica is of her sister, but also to see their fragility and how vulnerable they are. They opened themselves up to relive moments in their lives that were just unimaginable.”

Patrick Huey, a longtime friend of the sisters, spoke to The New York Times about the bond between the sisters: “They’ve had this amazing sisterly love and friendship and respect always, even when we were children.”