Sarah Blackwood and Gianni (Luminati) Nicassio say that as soon as their son Romeo started eating solid foods, “he ate everything.”
“We gave him a massive bowl of olives when he was very young, like, right off the boob, for lack of a better term,” Nicassio told CBC Toronto.
“And I remember we just turned around and then we came back and they were all gone, and he was just like, like pointing to the bowl.”
The couple, who head the pop indie band Walk Off The Earth, now have a Juno-nominated son. At four years old, he got the nod for Walk Off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 1 in the category of children’s album of the year.
He’s also the youngest Juno nominee since the start of the awards 52 years ago. Canadian actor and Marvel star Simu Liu hosts the 2022 show on Sunday.
Blackwood said she was shocked at Romeo’s food passion at such a young age.
“We have two other kids … and we know that sometimes they don’t have the most extensive palates, but he was just willing to eat anything and everything.”
A fruit and veggies kid
Romeo’s journey from food-loving baby to Juno nominee started when he and his dad began eating diverse fruits and vegetables together in their social media stories and livestreams.
“That all kind of happened naturally,” said Nicassio, “I would just be eating random stuff, and he would be like, ‘Dada, I want some,’ or whatever. And yeah, so I finally found my food soulmate.”
Blackwood said people connected with Romeo’s diverse palate were eager to see more.
“As we as we went along, as we knew that people were interested, we just said, ‘Let’s make a show,’ and we put it together, we put a set together, we did a lot of research on all kinds of different foods, fruits and vegetables and foods.”
That’s how the series Romeo Eats was born, where Romeo and his dad try all kinds of foods, vegetables and fruits from around the world.
The series has encouraged other kids and adults to try new foods.
“We get a lot of messages from people that are in their 30s and 40s that haven’t tried certain things their whole life,” said Nicassio.
“They’re like, wow, after I saw Romeo’s love for mushrooms, all of a sudden they love mushrooms now, like its just really inspiring to older people as well.”
A journey into music
As musicians, the presence of Blackwood and Nicassio is felt in the Romeo Eats series.
Blackwood said that, as they started getting into the production of the series, they had the idea of creating a song for each episode.
“In true Walk Off The Earth fashion, we took it to the next level. We did every song in a different genre.
“We made the lyrics hilarious, we were laughing so much in the writing room just writing the songs.”
That’s how they ended up with different albums for each season.
Walk Off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 1 has bangers such as The Sushi Song, which is Romeo’s favourite.
Spinoffs in the works
The young Juno nominee said he’s excited he’ll be wearing “avocado pants” to the big event, which is in Toronto this year, in honour of one of his favourite foods.
As for the future of Romeo Eats, Nicassio said they’d love to keep making the series.
“I think we’re going to do a couple of spinoffs. We already have one called Romeo Dines, where he gets invited to high-end restaurants and taste tests the whole menu.
“And we may do a Romeo Grows series because he really enjoys growing vegetables and tomatoes and stuff like that.”
Blackwood said she’s excited to see her kids “grow as artists and creators.”
“That’s its kind of all we know how to do, so it’s it’s nice to see that they have an interest in that kind of thing.”