It's hard to remember a time when Giada De Laurentiis wasn't in the public eye in some way. Back in the early 2000s, she was a chef with a catering company who had managed to land herself a Food Network show, Everyday Italian. People absolutely loved the cuisine she helped teach them to make, and her show soon got another season, then another. She got a cookbook, then another, then another. Now, Giada is basically everywhere — she's appeared as a judge on countless food shows, has a whole range of cookbooks available for home cooks, and even has a lifestyle website, Giadzy. She is one busy lady!
Part of the reason that so many people fell in love with her is that she helped introduce Italy's cuisine to many. Sure, most people can whip up a batch of spaghetti or some bruschetta, but she brought more interesting recipes, allowing everyone to craft feasts in their own kitchen. She's also a great example of how important moderation is — though she cooks decadent, cheese-filled recipes that don't skimp on oil or butter, she isn't about to eat a giant pot of pasta all by herself. She eats small portions of all her favourite treats from Italy — and that's far better than being able to eat a huge portion of something that just doesn't taste very good because it's packed with processed ingredients.
We have a feeling Giada De Laurentiis won't be going anywhere anytime soon — she'll be a staple in your kitchen and on your television screen for years to come, so here are 20 things you may not have known about her.
20 She Had No Television Experience Before Getting Her First Food Network Show
It seems like a huge risk to give a cooking show to someone who has absolutely zero experience on television, but it happens more often than you might think on Food Network — and it happened to Giada. Apparently, an executive at the network read about Giada when Food and Wine did a piece on her family. They were looking to add some of Italy's flavours to their show repertoire, and figured Giada would be the perfect fit, with great recipes and culinary training, and hopefully great on camera. Giada put together a demo, it convinced the network that she'd be okay handling the cameras, and the rest is history!
19 Her Grandfather Dino Was A Famous Film Producer
Giada may not have had experience in front of a camera herself before getting her show on the Food Network, but she's been around the entertainment industry her whole life thanks to her family. Her grandfather, the late Dino De Laurentiis, was a film producer who had countless accolades under his belt — in fact, out of his 100+ films, over 30 were nominated for Academy Awards, which is no small feat! However, in addition to his passion for movies, he had a passion for food, and ran a restaurant and specialty food store, which is one of the ways Giada was introduced to her ancestors' cuisine.
18 She Has A Regular Yoga Practice
Giada definitely has a packed schedule, from filming to guest starring on certain programs to working on her next cookbook to being a mom. She's got a lot on her plate, and it would probably be incredibly easy to get thrown of and neglect any kind of self-care. However, Giada knows that she needs to take care of herself in order to bring her best self to work — and she does that with yoga. Regular yoga practice is a huge part of her routine, and in addition to helping keep her physique lean and toned, it also helps keep her mind right, which is the most important part.
17 She's The First Woman To Open A Restaurant On The Vegas Strip
Quite frankly, we're a little bit surprised that Giada didn't open a restaurant far sooner than she actually did, but let's face it — she was busy building a culinary empire! However, in 2014, she finally had the opportunity to open her very own restaurant — and she chose to do so in Las Vegas. With the opening of Giada, she got the designation of having the first female-run restaurant with her name on the marquee in Vegas. There have been plenty of male chefs who have done it, and whose names are splashed all over Sin City in bright lights, but she blazed a trail for female chefs there, which we kind of love.
16 Her Favourite Smell Is Bread Baking
Giada is pretty much constantly in the kitchen, recipe testing and whipping up delectable dishes. And, she cooks plenty of things with incredible aromas, from pasta sauces that need to simmer all day to the simplest shot of espresso to start the morning with a kick. However, her favourite scent in the entire world is apparently the smell of baking bread. We really can't fault her for that one — if you've ever smelled a fresh loaf of bread being baked, you'll know that there really is nothing better. We're not sure how often she bakes her own bread from scratch, but she probably has a few solid bakeries she stops into on a regular basis.
15 She Was Born In Italy
Many chefs master the cuisine of countries they had no connection to before starting their culinary journeys — but Giada isn't one of them. While she certainly knows her way around other cultures' cuisine, she focuses on food from Italy because it was what she was raised on and what her heritage is. In fact, though you may not be able to tell because she doesn't have an accent, she was actually born in Italy! She didn't come to the United States with her family until she was seven years old, so she definitely has a different perspective on food than many chefs.
14 She Got A Degree In Anthropology Before Heading To Culinary School
Given her family history and her obvious passion for food, many people would assume that Giada must have gone to culinary school as soon she could to hone her skills in the kitchen — but that wasn't the case. In fact, Giada actually got an entirely different degree first, attending UCLA and earning an anthropology degree. After graduation, she realized she was passionate about food and wanted to pursue that instead, and ended up heading to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu. We suspect her anthropology degree might come in handy when she's exploring the food scene around the world, though!
13 Her Guilty Pleasure Food Is Chocolate
We have to admit, we kind of thought that Giada's guilty pleasure food would be some sort of cheese. After all, it's just such a staple in Italy's cuisine, and there are so many amazing varieties! However, when it comes down to it, it seems Giada has a bit of a sweet tooth and lists chocolate as her guilty pleasure food, no doubt about it. Who doesn't love an incredible piece of chocolate? Given her approach to food, though, Giada likely isn't chowing down on an entire inexpensive chocolate bar — she's probably savouring an amazing truffle or two at the end of a long day.
12 Romantic Woes
Though Giada has appeared as a judge on a few reality shows over the years, they've all been about the culinary world in some way, so she doesn't exactly air out her personal life on television. However, you will notice that you'll no longer see her hubby Todd in any segments of her shows, whereas she would previously mention him from time to time or even have him appear in the final scene where she's serving the things she made in a particular episode to friends and family. That's because the two actually got divorced after over a decade of marriage — sometimes, things just don't work out. She found love soon after, though, and has been dating producer Shane Farley for a few years now.
11 She Keeps Teeth Whitener In Her Fridge
One of Giada's most recognizable characteristics is her huge, friendly smile. She obviously takes care of her health all around, but given what a big part of her brand her smile is, it comes as no surprise that she takes extra good care of her teeth. In fact, if you go over to her house, you'd find something a bit unusual in her fridge — teeth whitener! Apparently, she has some on hand so she can always keep her grin pearly white, and it lasts longer if it's stored in the fridge rather than being stored in the bathroom where you might expect it to be.
10 She Doesn't Make Food From India At Home — She Orders Take-Out
While food from Italy is certainly her specialty, that doesn't mean Giada never experiments with other types of cuisine. Many of her recipes are some kind of fusion with influences from other cuisines around the world, and that's part of what makes her so interesting. However, there is one type of food that she won't ever attempt to make in her kitchen, and that's food from India. Apparently, when it comes to this kind of food, she'll only ever order take-out. We sort of understand that one — there are just so many unique spices that are used in these dishes, it can probably be tough to recreate your favourite restaurant's masterful recipes in your own kitchen.
9 She Has A Strange Childhood Favourite — Spaghetti With Melted Chocolate
We have a feeling that the food served in the De Laurentiis household when Giada was growing up was always pretty amazing. She seems to come from a family of talented cooks who are obviously all passionate about food. However, her favourite dish from childhood isn't a typical classic from Italy — it's something a little more unusual. Apparently, she really loved spaghetti combined with melted chocolate when she was growing up, and would request it as often as she could. She confessed to Bon Appetit that, while her tastes have changed over the years, "once in a blue moon, I'll still have it."
8 She's A Children's Book Author
It seems like there's just no role that Giada can't take on — including the role of children's book author! Giada is herself a parent, so obviously has read quite a few books to her daughter Jade over the years. However, she decided at one point to pen some children's books, and created a book series called Recipe for Adventure, which is totally on brand. Her series follows a young girl who goes to food destinations around the city and explores the culinary scene, which is a pretty amazing concept for a series. Anything that introduces children to different foods and cultures is a good thing in our world!
7 She Takes 20 Vitamins A Day
Giada is obviously a person who cares for her health and eats a nutritious diet — however, it turns out that she takes far more pills and supplements than you could imagine. She spilled all about her routine in The Cut, admitting that "my acupuncturist makes my little supplement bags for me. I try to go once a week. She muscle-tests me for what she thinks I need. The only regular things that I take are vitamin D, a probiotic, a prebiotic, and biotin. Everything else will sort of switch out. It's like a baggie of — I hate to say this — 20 pills a day. Which is a lot." Yikes!
6 She Writes A Cookbook Every 18 Months
Giada has written a ton of cookbooks over the years, and that's not the kind of task that gets done accidentally. It takes a lot of hard work and time, which can be tough to fit into an already busy schedule. So, how exactly has Giada managed to stay so prolific as a cookbook author? Simple — she has a system. She spilled it all to The Cut, saying that "the cookbooks get done every 18 months. It's the cycle that I've been on for ten years. I will do some of it when I'm on vacation. For some reason, being at my house, I can't relax. There's too many distractions, so I'll rent a house somewhere. I like to go to the mountains or Palm Springs. For my recent one, my daughter and I went to Rome, where my mother lives."
5 Her Favourite Vacation Spot Is Positano
There are so many amazing culinary destinations around the world that we imagine it would be hard to pick what your favourite vacation spot it — but Giada had a pretty definitive answer when Food Network asked her. Of all the countries in the world, her favourite to visit is still her native Italy, and of all the cities in Italy, she loves Positano. We totally understand the appeal — it's a lot more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of cities like Rome or Milan, has gorgeous scenery, and is nestled right alongside the ocean for absolutely incredible views. What's not to love?
4 Her Favourite Pizza Topping Is Just Lots And Lots Of Cheese
Given that she's a chef who specializes in cuisine from Italy, you might assume that Giada's favourite type of pizza is something complicated or packed with ingredients like prosciutto, arugula and balsamic vinegar. However, in actuality, her preference couldn't be simpler — there's nothing she loves more than a pizza topped with lots of cheese. And, given how many distinct cheese options come from Italy, that actually leads to a lot of unique pizzas. From your standard mozzarella to taleggio to parmigiano, there are so many varieties of cheese you can use to top your pizza — you couldn't possible limit yourself to just one!
3 An Interesting Drink Of Choice
Given what a big deal wine is in Italy, we have to admit, we kind of assumed Giada's favourite drink would be some type of wine, from some particular region in Italy. And while she probably wouldn't turn down a crisp pinot grigio from Veneto or rich glass of red, from Tuscany, her favourite drink to order is actually bourbon, straight up. That's right — we never would have guessed! We wouldn't have pictured her as a bourbon drinker, but it just goes to show that you never really know a person's drink of choice until they order it — people will often surprise you!
2 Her Favourite Gelato Flavour Is Stracciatella
While Giada has certainly created some more complex ice cream flavours over the years, when it comes down to it, again, simplicity is key in her book. With her background, she obviously has a penchant for gelato, and when it comes time to order there's one particular flavour she goes for time and time again — stracciatella. For those who may not know, stracciatella is basically just a type of vanilla ice cream with some chocolate flakes incorporated. It's simple, it's basic, and it's super delicious — we can totally see why it would be her flavour of choice when she's getting a scoop.
1 There's One Ingredient She Can't Stand — Green Peppers
When it comes to her culinary creations, Giada is all over the place. She's got recipes for incredible meat dishes that will impress the carnivores in your life, and also has great vegetarian dishes that showcase seasonal vegetables beautifully. However, there's one particular ingredient you won't see on her plate, no matter what — green peppers. Apparently, there's something about the crisp, sweet green pepper that she just doesn't enjoy, so she'll avoid it whenever possible. Hey, we all have food preferences, even chefs! She cooks so many amazing dishes, if you have to omit green peppers from your repertoire because she doesn't care for them, so be it!