Giada De Laurentiis is a shining star chef of the Food Network. She has faced quite a lot hardships in her personal life in recent years. Inspite of her achievements in the culinary world, the queen of Everyday Italian was initially expecting her life to turn out quite differently. However, fate had other ideas.
1. The End Of An Era
In 2015, Giada De Laurentiis ended her 11-year marriage with her fashion designer husband Todd Thompson. Their divorce sparked lots of speculation and attracted plenty of attention in the headlines. However, Giada just dealt with things professionally, like her approach to all the other setbacks in her life. In fact, many things that happened over the years hold lots of the answers.
2. An Uncertain Future
If you had asked a high school-aged Giada what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would not have answered a chef nor an on-camera personality. Her beloved parents told her, "You can't possibly know what you want to do, so why don't you buy yourself some time?" As a result, instead of entering the family business, Giada attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in Social Anthropology in 1996. Giada then found herself questioning her future.
3. Back To The Beginning
Giada was born in Rome, Italy, to actress Veronica De Laurentiis and actor and producer Alex De Benedetti. Besides, her maternal grandfather is none other than Dino De Laurentiis, a famous film producer who helped popularize Italian cinema in America. With such a film pedigree, you'd naturally think she would pursue a movie career, and her family thought so, too. However, Giada, instead, built her career against everyone's expectations.
4. Overcoming Bullying Thanks To Someone Special
After her parents' divorce, young Giada was uprooted with her siblings and moved from Italy to California in the 1970s. This experience greatly influenced the impressionable young girl. As a new immigrant, Giada couldn’t speak English, for which she was bullied and even nicknamed "Jabba the Hutt." To hide out, Giada found a safe place - her grandfather's restaurant, DDL Food Show, where things started to change.
5. Striking Out On Her Own
Giada developed a passion for cooking in her grandfather's restaurant, but still, she wasn't sure whether she was a match for culinary school. She considered her love for food as more of a hobby than a prospective career. However, Giada didn't think social anthropology was the right fit, either. After hesitating, Giada decided to break with her family's expectations and had a new plan for her future.
6. Pursuing Her Culinary Passion
After graduating from UCLA, Giada told her parents that she wanted to attend culinary school, and they agreed. The ambitious Giada applied for the highly coveted and competitive Le Cordon Bleu, and to her surprise, she was accepted. Not a risk taker, Giada this time was determined to make her culinary dream true. When she reached Le Cordon Bleu, Giada found things weren't as she had imagined.
7. Harder Than She Thought
Studying at Le Cordon Bleu, it wasn't long before Giada nearly changed her mind. "I don't know what I was thinking. The whole time. What was I thinking in this life because I am not that person." Due to stress and lack of sleep, the already petite girl at 5'1" lost 10 pounds. The only thing that kept her from giving up was her innate love of cooking. Looking back on this memorable experience, it really changed her life.
8. Starting Out As A Chef Isn't Easy
After finishing her studies in Paris, Giada was more than ready to dive right into the culinary scene. Eager to prove to herself and those who had doubted her decision, Giada worked in several restaurants and quickly earned a positive reputation in the culinary world. Giada was then hired by restaurant Spago, owned by world famous celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. There she earned her stripes as an up-and-coming chef. Still, she wasn't sure if it was right for her.
9. Questioning Her Career Path Yet Again
Giada changed her career yet again, transitioning surprisingly seamlessly from a chef to a food stylist for Food & Wine Magazine. Fate, however, had one more curve ball in store for her. In 2002, Giada caught the attention of a Food Network executive, who insisted she tape an on-camera demo. Soon, a series called Everyday Italian starring Giada was greenlit by the network. The beginning was rough, but things soon changed.
10. Not A Real Chef?
As Everyday Italian began airing, people thought the network had brought in an actress or model, not a qualified chef, but Giada proved them all wrong. Everyday Italian turned out to be a success, and Giada rapidly rose to be one of the most sought after chefs in the culinary industry. In 2005, she released a cookbook, which reached the top of the best seller lists. Despite all her success, Giada was still toiling away to prove herself on camera.
11. An On-Air Fail
Giada's career in front of the camera skyrocketed when Everyday Italian began to register on everyone's radar. She, alongside fellow Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay, competed on Iron Chef America as teammates. Unfortunately, their cooperation caused some strife. Giada was disappointed in their failure, while Flay "thought it was funny." It wasn't until 8 months later that the two reconciled.
12. The Downsides Of Being A Celebrity Chef
With all the success and celebrity chef status comes a high profile. Though being immediately recognizable is good for stars, there is inevitably a downside to all the fame. Giada has found that fans feel like they know her through her TV show, but actually, they don’t. Fans often gush over their favorite celebrity chef, but Giada doesn't like all the attention. Still, she manages to smile through every fan interaction, and there is a secret behind her megawatt smile.
13. Smiling Through The Stress
Giada has now become known for her super big and bright smile, but smiling all the time doesn't come naturally for her. Initially intimidated by being in front of the camera, producer Irene Wong advised the chef star to grin and bear it throughout everything. When she accidentally burns herself, when she lifts something heavy, whatever it may be, just smile through it all. That is the trick to keep her smile perfect.
14. The Strange Ingredients She Keeps In Her Fridge
Giada has some clever life hacks to keep her camera ready at all times. As a culinary maven, she makes concoctions out of ordinary foods found in the kitchen. For instance, Giada mixes olive oil and baking soda into homemade face masks to fight blemishes while moisturizing skin. For that smile, Giada stores lots of tooth whitener in the fridge to keep them fresh. The fridge keeps a few more food secrets.
15. What Does A Celebrity Chef Actually Eat?
People say the camera adds 10 pounds. In a bid to stay fit, Giada takes care of what she eats and avoids fattening foods. That sounds pretty challenging for Giada as she works on so many cooking shows. Reportedly, Giada carries dark chocolate in each of her handbags at all times to cure any craving for something sweet. She in actuality rarely eats the food she makes on her show. Then who does the taste tests you see on the screen?
16. The Dump Bucket
Contrary to what the show presents, Giada "Never eats. Never… They have a dump bucket that is brought out the second they cut," a spokesperson for the star said. The spokesperson further explains that because Giada makes so many meals throughout the day, she couldn't possibly eat them all. There is reportedly also something sneaky happening on set during close up shots of Giada taking a bite, which, of course, doesn't appear on our TV screens.
17. Who Wants A Bite?
To maintain a healthy diet, the Italian chef can't honestly eat all that food, as people say, too much of anything can be bad for you. So Giada and her show's producers came up with a pretty brilliant idea to deal with all those taste tests. Giada has substitutes for her standing on the set during any taste of food, and the scenes are done as close up shots, so no one can tell the difference. Sometimes, when there is a split take on camera, it is in fact not Giada.
18. A Funny Focaccia Flub
On an episode of Ellen DeGeneres' talk show with Nicole Kidman, Giada taught the two how to make focaccia. Ellen and Nicole each took a bite of the focaccia Giada made. While Ellen jokingly over-exaggerated her chewing, Nicole reacted quite differently - she gracefully spit her bite back out. Giada explained that the focaccia was premade hours before the taping, and the three all laughed. In fact, that wasn't the first time Giada's food had been spit back out.
19. Freezing Up On Air
Earlier in her TV chef career, Giada was invited to cook for Al Roker on the Today Show. To make the dish look good on camera, Giada made the chicken a little raw. Unaware of this, Al Roker just went to take a bite. "I just froze, my entire body and mind froze. It's those terrifying moments that end up being the things that can change your career," Giada recalls. Fortunately, Al understood the situation, and Giada would continue to redeem herself after the accident.
20. Giada's Culinary Career Highs
In 2008, Giada won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lifestyle Host. Most people would think it would be the crowning moment of the chef's career, but another moment stands even higher. Giada cooked lasagna for Prince William and Kate Middleton when they came to California, and they loved it.
21. Giada and Jade
Giada and former husband Todd share one daughter - named Jade after herself - as "Giada" means "jade" in Italian. Determined to have only one child, the busy celebrity chef cherishes her time with her daughter. Instead of saying yes to every chance as she did in her early career, Giada has become careful to schedule work since having Jade. For her, the top priority is no longer work, but her daughter.
22. Finding Love Again
Once her uncoupling hit the press, rumors started swirling that Giada had an affair in the marriage. She vehemently denied these claims. Meanwhile, one of her producers, Shane Farley, was also going through a divorce, and the two were there for one another. However, Giada and Shane's friendship soon turned into something more. Anyway, Giada had not given up on love. Ultimately, the experience reminded her that family always comes first.
23. How She Handled The Reviews Of Her Restaurant
In 2018, Giada opened up her own eponymous restaurant in Las Vegas, making her the first woman to set up an eatery on the strip. This also made her a true role model for female chefs everywhere. And yet, criticism arose after her restaurant's grand opening, which Giada just took in stride. "I spent two days bawling my eyes out," but after years in the culinary world and as an on-camera personality, she has learned how to get over others' negativity.
24. Finding Confidence In Her Food
While taking the criticism to heart, Giada maintained confident in her cooking abilities. "We open ourselves up to those critics. I feel like I have my iconic dishes, my restaurant does really well, I do my best to deliver great service and great food and that is the job that I have." Rising above the criticism, Giada wanted those who have made fun of her over-pronunciation of Italian words to know that they actually all pronounced them wrong.
25. Over-Pronunciations vs. Mis-Pronunciations
The mispronunciation of "spaghetti" and other Italian words she's accused of over-annunciation is indeed a pet peeve of hers. However, when she begins to doubt herself, Giada simply looks over at all the accolades that prove she's been doing it right all along. Giada was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012. So what does a world famous celebrity chef eat when she's craving food?
26. Her Favorite Food (And It's Definitely Different)
We now know, Giada doesn't eat the food she made on TV, but she retains a soft spot for her childhood favorite - chocolate. Her favorite food all this time was actually spaghetti with melted chocolate. "Once in a blue moon, I'll still have it." Before questioning the seemingly mismatched ingredients, don't yuck anyone's yum. If Giada says it's good, we're ready to take a bite.