Stacey Simon’s fun, foodie Rendezvous outside of the city

Stacey Simon doesn’t wait around for things to happen. So, in 2011, she founded her own production company, LiLoLa Films (named after her mantra, “Live, Love and Laugh”) where she could create her own projects. The fruits of her labours can be seen in her first television project, Stacey Simon Rendezvous.

Debuting Saturday night with back-to-back episodes on Gusto TV, Stacey Simon Rendezvous finds the Ottawa native jumping in the car and exploring the countryside outside of her adopted home of Toronto to shine the spotlight on the animals, people and produce populating the farms, vineyards and communities in Southern Ontario.

“This is my story,” Simon says. “This is what I do on my weekends. I literally get away from Toronto and discover other parts of Ontario. I love the city life, but I love to discover the little towns and places and go local. Whether it be fresh food or talking to the locals, I really enjoy it.” Simon had several projects in her head and on paper and was trying to figure out which one she wanted to do first, she went with the project closest to her heart. In Saturday’s first episode, “A Royal Rendezvous,” Simon travels to Beamsville, Ont., to see the most expensive bottle of Ice Wine in the world, hikes the Bruce Trail and picks apples, pears and pumpkins on a nearby farm. And whether she’s lugging an oversized orange squash around a field or sipping a high-end wine, Simon’s goal for each of the eight 30-minute episodes is the same: to celebrate and educate the small towns mere minutes outside of Toronto.

“Because there is so much to do in this city, you tend to forget that most of the food on your plate in the great restaurants are from an hour outside of the city,” she says. “I really believe in farm to table. I like going to a farm and seeing how your food is processed and grown.” Season 1 is a wish list of Simon’s favourite Ontario communities, including Beamsville, Newcastle and Lincoln; she hopes to add Prince Edward County to Season 2, which is in pre-production. Speaking of production, a quick look at Rendezvous’ end credits reveal a stripped-down crew helping make Simon’s dream of making compelling, entertaining TV come true.

“I may have a very small film crew and production team, but they are all professionals in their field and know their stuff,” she says. “Being the perfectionist that I am and a sponge at wanting to learn all I can, I am very thankful that I was able to follow through from start to finish, exactly how I saw it in my head.”

Stacey Simon Rendezvous debuts Saturday, Aug. 15, at 6 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Gusto TV.

Stacey Simon has just released a book, Where The Streets Have A Cool Name, that combines her love of photography and writing. It features a collection of unique street names accompanied by brief captions that reflect on amusing and uplifting messages inspired by each street she captured. Get more details here.