Giada De Laurentiis is the kind of celebrity chef you always see on your television screens with a bowl of home-cooked goodness in her hands. But how much do you really know about this Food Network star? Well, here’s everything you need to know…
All about Giada
Nowadays, the world of television is overrun with budding chefs hoping to be the next big thing in the world of cooking. Because of this, choosing the scrummiest recipes and chefs to follow can be a tough one – but not when it comes to Giada De Laurentiis. This Italian-American chef produces perfect food like no other, yet her personal life is far from perfect. From a rough divorce to on-screen arguments, this is the story of Giada De Laurentiis.
A food obsession
Like most of us, Giada De Laurentiis has always been obsessed with food. However, she was always skeptical of a career in the world of food. So, after moving to Los Angeles with her family, Giada decided to study at the University of California. Rather than embracing her love for food, Giada studied social anthropology and finally received her bachelor’s degree in the mid-90s. Yet, Giada always knew that cooking would one day make a comeback into her life…
A trip to Paris
All the time that she was studying social anthropology, Giada couldn’t shake off the feeling that she was missing something from her life. After a while, she decided that she couldn’t ignore the burning feeling any longer, and so decided to apply for the hugely prestigious Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris. With an aim to one day be a pastry chef, Giada took the time to learn under the best chefs in the business and expand her knowledge.
Moving back home
After an amazing few years, Giada returned back home to the United States after priceless tuition at Le Cordon Bleu. Within months, Giada had managed to bag herself her first professional cooking role in the Los Angeles restaurant scene – and even worked for Wolfgang Puck at his infamous Spago restaurant. A few years later, Giada decided to change course slightly and become a magazine food stylist… a career move that would change the rest of her life.
Food & Wine Magazine
By 2002, Giada De Laurentiis had become a leading food stylist for Food & Wine Magazine. That same year, her impressive work made the rounds and caught the attention of a top executive at The Food Network. At the time, the network was on the lookout for an Italian-born chef who could bring a bit of Italian flare to their channel. Although they were skeptical about her on-screen presence, Giada was eventually offered her very own show: Everyday Italian!
Although she is largely known for her role in her debut show, Everyday Italian – it’s fair to say that Giada De Laurentiis has a few tricks under her sleeve. Over the course of her impressive career, Giada has worked on numerous shows, including Pixie Hollow Bake Off, Handy Manny, Behind the Bash, and Giada’s Weekend Tutorials. With all of these shows under her belt, Giada has become a major television personality in the world of food and cooking segments. Not bad, ey?
A happy personality
While most fans tune into her shows to check out her impressive cooking skills, fans are equally impressed with her happy personality. In fact, we’ve rarely seen her without her trademark smile on her face! Unfortunately, it seems as if this happy-go-lucky personality is hiding something much deeper. According to Irene Wong, Giada’s smile covers up various burns, aches, and pains that occur during her cooking segments. So, to cover up the pain, she makes her cheeks hurt instead! Makes sense…
Pen to paper
Thankfully, Giada De Laurentiis hasn’t kept all of her knowledge for her fans on TV. Like many other chefs on The Food Network, Giada has also used her vital information on Italian cooking to create numerous cooking books. Amazingly, she’s released eight cookery books since 2005 alone! If that’s not impressive, we don’t know what is. Much of these books include her Italian heritage and Italian style of cooking, and two of them have even reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller lists.
Yet, her talents don’t stop there. While she may have won awards and titles for her cookery books, it seems as though Giada has also won awards for her time on television. Yep, this TV chef has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lifestyle Host category, as well as a Gracie Award for the Best Television Host award. Want to know the best bit? She managed to win both awards! She has also been inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
A new venture
While we all know her as an on-screen personality, it seems as though Giada wanted to bring her food a little closer to her fans in 2014. Yep, this talented Italian chef decided on a new business venture to allow her viewers to really get up close and personal with her food – and she opened her first restaurant in Las Vegas. This epic restaurant overlooks the Bellagio Fountains and gives diners the chance to dine like ‘GIADA.’ How do we make a reservation?
A royal event
For the most part, Giada De Laurentiis has proven that she is the Queen of hearty Italian meals. Yet, she has also proven that she is more than capable of making a dinner fit for royalty – as that’s exactly what she’s done! Indeed, in a one-off special of her TV show, Giada took us behind the scenes of a prestigious event she catered. For this event, she whipped up a meal for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and Kate Middleton.
Keeping it healthy
It’s no secret that Italian food isn’t the healthiest food in the world – but we’re totally okay with that because we LOVE pasta and cheese. Because of this, many viewers are baffled as to how Giada manages to stay in shape. Well, it seems as though this celebrity chef loves to keep it healthy when she’s not cooking on camera. She regularly practices yoga and spends any free time she has walking along the beach and doing breathing exercises.
Short and sweet
However, keeping a healthy figure isn’t all about exercise. Giada also maintains a healthy and balanced eating regime – which doesn’t really coincide with her cooking show. In fact, Giada has noted that while she makes these delicious Italian dinners, she rarely eats the food she makes for the show. She may take a bite for effect, but will never eat the whole finished product. While on set, she only ever eats salad and takes small bites of dark chocolate.
Love for nonno
Throughout her career, Giada has learned first-hand about the pressures of fame and the effect it can have on someone. However, she has also learned a huge amount from her grandfather – or her ‘nonno.’ As a famous Italian film producer, Dino De Laurentiis has taught his granddaughter about the culinary business, as well as the business world in general. Giada also helped him out in his Italian restaurant when she was younger, and would often take the lead in the kitchen.
Causing a ruckus
For the most part, the world has fallen completely and utterly in love with Giada De Laurentiis – but she seems to have ruffled a few feathers in recent years. In May 2017, Giada was given the opportunity to star on the popular talk show, The Ellen Show. However, Giada wasn’t the only guest. She also appeared alongside Nicole Kidman and made fun of the actress and her cooking skills in front of the whole world. Not cool, Giada.
Hitting the Target
For most television chefs, forming your own brand of kitchen equipment is a rite of passage – but Giada turned major companies and brands down for many years before she finally said yes to their requests. In 2010, she was approached by one of the biggest retailers in the United States and just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to create a line of kitchen supplies in her name, that are still currently on sale in many Target stores across the country.
Giada and Todd
At the start of her career, Giada De Laurentiis was the kind of chef that was so engrossed in her work that she had no time for romance. Yet, that all changed in the early ‘00s when Giada met the famous fashion designer, Todd Thompson. In 2003, the adorable couple announced that they had tied the knot. The pair lived a happy and healthy marriage, until 2014, when Giada announced that the pair were separating. It seemingly all became too much for Giada.
Her beloved daughter
While her marriage with Todd may have ended on a sour note, the couple did bring their wonderful daughter into the world. Yep, in 2008, the couple welcomed Jade Marie De Laurentiis-Thompson into their lives and named her after her mother (‘Jade’ in Italian is ‘Giada’). Giada has noted that Jade is one of the most important people in her life, but she has also confessed that one child is enough for her, as her career will always be her first love.
Giada and her knives
Although she has her own brand of kitchen supplies, it seems as though this business venture just wasn’t enough for Giada. So, she decided to create her own brand of kitchen knives as well – because why not, ey?! Unlike many other kitchen knives, Giada’s brand has been specially designed for those who are really into their cooking. Because of this, these knives are not cheap, and one knife was once sold on eBay for a whopping $75!
Uncomfortable in front of the camera
When you see her on your television screens, it’s fair to say that Giada looks incredibly comfortable and at home in front of the camera – just like the rest of her family. However, Giada has since noted that being in front of the camera does not come naturally to her and that she never wanted to be a television personality. This, along with the negative critiques of her shows, have caused her to become much more camera shy over the years.
Behind the Bash
While we all know her for Everyday Italian, Giada has also been part of major productions and TV shows outside of her cooking shows. In 2006, Giada was given the chance to be the host of a brand new show: Behind the Bash. For this segment, Giada would give us all an insight into the behind-the-scenes action of award ceremonies such as the Grammy Awards. Although it was both entertaining and popular, the show was eventually pulled from the air.
Since making her debut in the early ‘00s, Giada de Laurentiis has since gone from strength to strength and shown that she is so much more than a one-trick pony. In fact, she’s now become a successful voice actress! When she’s not cooking on The Food Network, Giada is in the booth recording her lines for the cartoon, Handy Manny. In this children’s show, Giada stars as Paulette who is a pizza chef. You don’t get much cooler than that, now, do you?
A dump bucket
While we already know that Giada eats salads on the set of her shows, it seems that her inability to eat her own food goes much further than that. According to a source who works closely with the celebrity chef, Giada keeps a dump bucket by her side in between takes so that she can spit out the food she pretends to try for the sake of the show. A spokesperson has since confirmed this but put it down to the quantity of food she makes.
During their relationship, Giada and Todd were an extremely popular celebrity couple. Unfortunately, like many celebrity couples, their romance was plagued by cheating rumors, and Giada was accused of being unfaithful to her husband. The rumors stated that Giada was having an affair with the singer, John Mayer. As if that wasn’t enough, there were also rumors involving her, Bobby Flay and Matt Lauer. Giada refuted all of these rumors the minute they became public and shut them down entirely.
Look but don’t touch
Now she has been working in the business for many years, Giada De Laurentiis seems to be becoming much more confident with the spotlight and fan interaction. However, Giada has also been very vocal about her limits when it comes to fan interaction. While she enjoys meeting new people and taking photos, she wishes that these people would not come up and touch her without her permission, as she finds the whole thing incredibly intimidating. She wants them to look, but don’t touch.
When you see a person on television for so long, it’s hard to get a real image of what they look like in person. After all, Giada spends most of her time behind a cooking counter – so it’s hard to see what she is really like. Because of this, many fans are taken aback to discover that Giada is a lot shorter than they imagine. In real life, she stands at just 5ft 1 inch, which becomes much more noticeable next to a taller celebrity.
Like most Italian families, Giada De Laurentiis is extremely close to her parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, and siblings. Because of this, Giada was heartbroken when she discovered that her brother had passed away after a battle with melanoma. At the time, Dino De Laurentiis Jr. was just making his start in the world of Hollywood as a director, before tragedy struck him and his family. Since then, Giada has been a keen advocate for melanoma and spotting the warning signs.
Sticking with the one
No matter where Giada goes in the world or who she speaks to, she will always gush over her daughter Jade. Yet, she is also very confident in the fact that she will be sticking with the one and not having any more children. As you delve deeper into her pregnancy, this starts to make even more sense. Giada gave birth to Jade when she was 37 years old and is now well into her late forties.
Passing it down a generation
If you’re familiar with Italian tradition, you’ll know that many families pass down their names from generation to generation – and the Di Laurentiis family is no different. Giada’s late brother, Dino De Laurentiis, was named after his film producer grandfather, and Giada chose the English version of her name for her daughter Jade. This shows that Giada is in keeping with her Italian roots while adding a little bit of her American heritage into the mixing bowl.
Giana totally understands that she is a brand, not just a chef, and that she needs to make sure that she puts on the performance that her fans expect as she is a media personality not just a cook. “They expect the show first and the food second, where from other chefs they expect food first, show second,” De Laurentiis told magazine Travel + Leisure. “I have to keep that in mind whenever I’m doing things, and to make sure that it really has my signature on it — that it’s happy and it’s warm and it’s inviting.”
Even famous celeb chefs have their own favorite restaurants, and Giada is no different. She says that when she’s in New York, her restaurant of choice is Milos. It’s mainly Greek cuisine, but there’s another reason she loves it. “I love the fish display. I feel like it teaches people about fish and how to pick it and what to look for. And their food is extremely simple. It is not gussied-up Greek food, and, at the end of the day, that’s all anybody wants.”
Love of Pasta
Unsurprisingly, Giada’s other favorite place to eat is in her birth town of Rome. “Rome is one of my favorite food cities. It is also where I was born. And Al Moro is a restaurant in the center of Rome [that] my family has been going to for eons. And they make an incredible pasta amatriciana. It’s a classic Roman dish; so is carbonara. But the amatriciana has pancetta or guanciale and tomatoes and onions and it’s all stewed together, basically, and it’s probably the best pasta ever.”
If you want to cook like Giada, you can start with her Valentines Day staple. She always makes heart-shaped ravioli! Yum. She fills it with ricotta cheese, and then serves it with a tomato Pomodoro sauce. “I don’t know why [but when] I think of Valentine’s and romance, I think of ravioli,” she said. “To me, they’re light, but they’re sexy and very romantic.” To keep things nice and simple, she uses wonton wrappers instead of making pasta from scratch. Smart!
Moving Away from Fine Dining
A lot of Giada’s food, especially her restaurant The Cromwell is geared towards fine dining. But more recently, Giada has been looking for ways to reach more people with her new ventures. “As much as fine dining is great, there’s a whole sector of people who are looking for a different experience, and not necessarily just a buffet,” she said. “I know buffets are still big, but this is a taste of something a little more elevated but at a much lower price point. I think that’s kinda needed here.”
What’s she talking about? Pronto! It has what she calls a ‘fast-casual’ vibe, which she takes from the cafes in Italy where she was born, allowing friends to meet and catch up in as little time as they have, rather than a lengthy gourmet experience over a three course meal. The tag line helps you understand exactly what’s going on here, as she subtitles is “a quick bite of the good life.” We like the sounds of that!
And where better than the city that never sleeps? Pronto will be found at Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas, and it aims to bring some simplicity back to food in the city. “Vegas is known for over-the-top indulgent dishes, right? And I had these people yesterday say to me: ‘You know, it’s hard to find the basics.’ Oatmeal, yogurt — the basics of basics. Because we’re the land of indulgence here, we forget the simplicity.”
Giada and Jade
The inspiration for a lot of the more simple food at Pronto has come from her daughter, Jade. She is still learning about food, and it a great muse for her mom. “Children don’t have a lot of patience for things that are too chaotic or complicated, or where they have to spend too much time figuring things out. So she’s been a big guide in all this,” De Laurentiis told the press. “She likes simple and she likes fast, but then again lots of flavor.”
It really is a much more casual experience than what you might have seen from Giada before. The prices, and the time everything takes point to this. Nothing on the menu at Pronto is more than $18, and many things are under ten bucks. And all the food takes around four minutes to get out the kitchen and to the customer. This is really impressive considering the delicious and elaborate menu which they provide.
But that’s not all, this April, Giada will be expanding her empire in Baltimore, with a second GDL restaurant opening up at the Horseshoe Casino. She already has one fine dining experience called GDL Giana in Vegas, but this is going to be following a different path. She understands that the community in Baltimore is not the same as in Vegas, so this restaurant needs to be offering something different entirely.
A Different Vibe
“At the beginning of this discussion everybody just said to me, ‘Let’s just rebuild Giada Vegas but in Baltimore,’” she said. “And I thought, ‘No, it doesn’t work here.’ It’s not the same community, which is why I had to spend time here to understand it.” The food community, and any foodies on the East Coast have been so excited to see what she came up with, and they won’t be disappointed, we can guarantee it!
No Easy Task
It’s not an easy task. She needs to keep her own signature style which is a lighter twist on Italian cuisine, but still manage to speak to the people in Baltimore and what they love about food, and also be reminiscent of her existing food from the West Coast in California. She says there will definitely be a lot of seafood. “Seafood is such a big part of who Baltimore is, and so we will incorporate a lot of that, of course, with a little bit of an Italian spin to it.”
Don’t Forget the Wine!
Giada also has some ideas for the wine list. “What I’m going to do is just pull my favorites from different areas and make sure they’re priced really well, and that will sort of create it.” The main thing is, she plans to listen to the guests to work out what is right for the place. “This isn’t a one-way street. I’m not going to be eating at the restaurant every night — the folks in Baltimore will be, so if I don’t listen to them, then I might as well just forget doing this.”
Taking a Leap
This new venture also shows us a lot of about Giada’s personality. Although she has never chosen a location which wasn’t a holiday destination, she feels confident in her risk that she can win over the people of Baltimore. “This is a wonderful opportunity to try a new concept,” she said. “When I’m incredibly fearful of something is when I have to jump off the ledge and try it because otherwise that fear stops you from ever moving forward.”
Seizing the Opportunity
One clever way which Giada is continuing to grow her brand is by merging some of her channels for reaching people. So for example, if you go to her new restaurant Pronto in Las Vegas, you’ll see that you can also buy some her of merchandise, from cookbooks, to clothes or take-away desserts. This is a great way to remind people that they aren’t just taking advantage of a great dining experience, but also a brand, like Gordon Ramsay or any other celeb chef.
And don’t forget one other Italian staple which will definitely be a part of Pronto, and probably any other endeavor that Giada gets involved in… Gelato! No Italian restaurant is complete without their gorgeously creamy ice cream, and Pronto is going to have a unique gelato bar where guests can buy take away frozen treats, or sit in and enjoy the flavor of Italy, right there amongst the sights and sounds of Las Vegas. Sign us up!
Leo the Lion
Whether you believe in horoscopes and astrology or not, you can’t deny that Giada De Laurentiis’s horoscope is pretty accurate. Like many Leos, Giada is extremely career-driven and motivated when it comes to her professional life. Although she originally did not want to be in front of the camera, her career has shown that she really thrives when the red light is turned on. Leos are also known for being fairly blunt in their direction, and Giada had no problems shutting down her cheating rumors…