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TV Movie Goodness Interview: Danielle Panabaker Talks Hallmark Channel’s Recipe For Love [Exclusive] 

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Crown Media United States, Inc.
Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Crown Media United States, Inc.

Danielle Panabaker is crazy busy. The premiere of her new series, The Flash, blew the doors off The CW Tuesday night, and Saturday night at 9/8c, she headlines Hallmark Channel’s utterly charming Recipe For Love, about a budding chef who is assigned to ghostwrite a celebrity chef’s long-overdue cookbook. We chatted exclusively with Panabaker this week while she was tandem shooting The Flash and Arrow.

Recipe for Love popped up last spring while Panabaker was in Vancouver working on The Flash pilot. “Hallmark came to me. It worked out perfectly with the timing. I got to meet the director Ron Oliver before I wrapped The Flash and we had a little chat and then I went home for a couple of days and came back [to Vancouver and started the film].”

While she isn’t a whiz in the kitchen, Panabaker loves food, and that was a big draw of the part. “It was really enticing. Trying new restaurants is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world, so it was pretty exciting for me,” she says. “We got to train with Chef Julian at a cooking school here in Vancouver and he was just adorable and so helpful to me. That was a highlight for me and added bonus to get to learn from him while shooting the film.”

A centerpiece of the film is an Iron Chef-type competition that requires Panabaker and her co-star, Shawn Roberts, to partner up and prepare a meal in tandem while a clock runs down. “One of our first Saturdays, we spent a while at the school with Julian figuring it out,” she recalls. “We picked it up pretty quickly and just kind of made it happen.When you read that you’re thinking they just made it up to tell a good story, and it was [cool to find out] that it’s a real thing. I did love [filming that] scene because it was fun and there were a lot of actors there.”

Earlier this year, Panabaker had a recurring role on Justified, and she likes the variety of mixing up series and film work. She echoes what Lindsay Hartley told us last month about Ron Oliver, the director on Perfect on Paper, who also helmed Recipe For Love. “One of the wonderful things about doing these movies for Hallmark is that they’re shot quite quickly. They’re really fun,” she says. “Ron Oliver is a gem. He always has music playing. It’s a real delight to be on set. It doesn’t feel like work at all. It’s fun to do something light and have a little bit of comedy and get to be a chef for while.”

Photo Credit: The CW
Photo Credit: The CW

Being part of The Flash, which was a juggernaut before it even aired, has been exciting for Panabaker, but she’s been insulated a bit from the buzz because they’re away from daily industry talk in Hollywood. “There’s a part of me that feels a little detached because we’re in Vancouver. We just show up and do our work,” she explains. “We’re a new show and we’re trying to find our footing. There’s a new meta human, new bad guy every week And a new special effect to figure out every week.”

She read for the role of Caitlin when the pilot had already been greenlit. “[They] had such faith from the beginning and that was really exciting. To have so many great storytellers behind it like Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns. That was very enticing because you know they’re going to pay very close attention to the material and deliver at the best level that they can.” She’s read some of the comics but hasn’t delved into Killer Frost. “I think that’s a few years away so I’m just focusing on the [series] material,” she says. She’s also enjoying the change of the seasons outside California. “I love Vancouver. It’s a beautiful city. We’ve had an amazing summer. It’s really nice to see the fall. It’s just gorgeous right now.

Recipe For Love airs at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel. The Flash airs at 8/7c on The CW.

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