Giada De Laurentiis is one of the well-known American celebrity chefs and also a mother who has a big presence on the Food Network. If you are a big fan of the Food Network, then you will probably know Giada from the numerous shows she has starred and hosted.

Giada is well known for presenting simple Italian dishes that resonate well with amateur home cooks. After working as a professional chef, she built her culinary fame through additional T.V. programs on the Food Network as well as selling her own cookbooks and signature Giada products.

Giada De Laurentiis - The Childhood Years

Born in 1970 in the Italian city of Rome, Italy, Giada is the child of actress Veronica De Laurentiis and actor-producer Alex De Benedetti.

However, being raised in a film and television family did not inspire Giada to pursue a career in the acting arts. Instead, little Giada spent a lot of her time in the family kitchen and at her grandfather's restaurant.

Like fellow American celebrity chef - Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss fame, Giada also grew up in a large Italian family and at family gatherings, there were often numerous traditional Italian dishes to eat and enjoy.

Being close to food made Giada De Laurentiis very comfortable in the kitchen as a child. At her grandfather Dino de Laurentiis’s restaurant called the DDL Food show, Giada welcomed her love for food.

Black and white photo of the outside of an Italian restaurant.
Giada spent a lot of her time at her grandfather's restaurant in Italy. Photo credit: @metinozer on Unsplash.

When her parents' divorced after being married for a short time, Giada De Laurentiis moved to the U.S. with her siblings and chose Southern California as their new home.

She would later spend the rest of her school years in the United States as well as her early career as an aspiring professional chef.

A Cordon Bleu Education

It was 1996 and Giada De Laurentiis had just finished her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. The young Giada has not yet decided to pursue a career in cooking or had dreams of becoming a professional chef. She actually graduated with a bachelor's degree in social anthropology!

After graduating with her social anthropology degree, Giada realized that she now desired to pursue her childhood love for cooking. Despite spending four years getting a conventional university education, there was still time to make a career switch.

De Laurentiis decided to make the transition easier by choosing to enroll in a culinary school in Paris.

It was not any culinary school that Giada De Laurentiis chose to further her education. In fact, she decided to learn from the best instructors in Paris at the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu.

Initially, Giada did not want to become a regular restaurateur. Instead, she had aspirations to become a pastry chef.

True to her early aspirations, the degree program that Giada enrolled in at Le Cordon Bleu specialized in cuisine and patisserie and it was called Le Grand Diplome. This program gave young aspiring chefs a combination of classic chef training as well as knowledge in patisserie.

Early Career (H2)

After graduating from the famous Le Cordon Bleu, Giada returned to southern California where she found work as a professional chef. During her early career, Giada worked at the fine-dining kitchen at Ritz Carlton in the city of Los Angeles.

Through her family’s Hollywood connections, Giada then landed a chef’s job at Wolfgang Puck’s famous restaurant but eventually left to launch her own private catering company called GDL foods in 1998.

Splatter of food on display on a wooden board.
After working as a professional chef, Giada started her own catering company called GDL. Photo credit: @creativegangsters on Unsplash.

With her celebrity pedigree of actor parents and other famous Italian entertainers and personalities, Giada’s career was thriving.  GDL foods were serving the Hollywood elite of the day and had many celebrity clients.

With her charisma and made-for-T.V. looks, Giada soon became very visible on the California food scene even though she had no intention of moving into television at the time.

Fame on the Food Network

Fame for Giada De Laurentiis came from an article about her family’s good fortunes and famous names. The magazine article showcased each member of the De Laurentiis clan by highlighting their interests and personal pursuits.

Luckily for Giada, a Food Network executive happened to be reading that magazine and saw Giada’s potential on the Food Network.

Her early television career was not so easy for Giada. Due to her perkiness and good-looking appearance, many in the culinary industry doubted her cooking skills and went as far as questioning her seriousness as a chef.

Over time, Giada proved to her audience that her passion for Italian cooking and her chef skills were indeed genuine.

Food Network Appearances

Since starting her television career, Giada De Laurentiis has won Emmy awards and appeared in numerous cooking and lifestyle shows like her fellow Food Network stars, Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay. Her appearance, personality, and talent have won her many fans, old and young alike. If you are a fan of Giada’s or are interested in watching her shows, below are some to consider.

Everyday Italian

This is Giada’s signature show that first won her many followers and fans. It is also the show that spawned many others with Giada’s name in the title. The show features Giada cooking healthy and accessible recipes for her audiences which eventually earned her an Emmy award.

In the show, Giada does the cooking which is filmed live during a first run with the close-up shots of the food being filmed on a second-run. In the show, Giada often features members of her large Italian family as her ‘cast’ and helpers where they worked alongside Giada in the kitchen.

Since 2008, Everyday Italian is no longer in production. However, the show has spawned many related cookbooks where readers can learn to recreate Giada’s recipes. Giada’s presence can still be found on The Food Network through various other shows.

A plate of pasta on a white background.
Everyday Italian was Giada's first show on the Food Network. Photo Credit: @eaterscollective on Unsplash.

Giada’s Weekend Getaways

Giada’s Weekend Getaways was launched in 2007 and finished with two seasons in total. This show features Giada in interesting culinary settings across the United States over 3-day weekends.

The show’s format usually begins on a Friday afternoon as Giada is just arriving at her destination. After arriving, the cameras will follow Giada around as she eats a light dinner, appetizer, and a cocktail. The next day - Saturday, is where the bulk of the show is filmed.

Giada usually spends her weekend at the destination eating a nice breakfast followed by some sight-seeing before eating lunch and going to activities again before dinner.

During her dinners, Giada would often go all out by dressing up and then spending the night out in the town. The end of the show’s episodes will feature Giada eating brunch before going home.

Iron Chef America

Iron Chef America is the American adaptation of the Japanese version and is also a show produced by the Food Network. The format of the show is designed to be like a game show. In each episode of the show, a new chef gets to challenge and compete against one of the resident "Iron Chefs".

For Giada De Laurentiis, she has appeared on the celebrity version of this show where she competed with teammate Bobby Flay. Both Giada and Bobby were up against fellow celebrity chefs Rachel Ray and Mario Batali.

Unfortunately for Giada, she did not win the show and her loss has always been a sore point for her.

Giada’s CookBooks

Like many other famous chefs, Giada has a huge repertoire of recipes that she cooks from. Since she found fame on the Food Network, Giada has turned many of these recipes into cookbooks for both adults and kids where her fans and ordinary home chefs can learn to replicate and use for inspiration in their own kitchens.

Nine of the cookbooks have become New York Times bestsellers with the most recently published one being Giada’s Italy. This sleek book features beautiful photos shot on location around Giada’s city of birth - Rome.

The book explores Giada De Laurentiis’s food background and shares beloved and authentic Italian family recipes from her family kitchen.

Some other books by Giada include Happy Cooking, Giada’s Feel Good Foods, Weeknights with Giada, Giada at Home, Giada’s Kitchen, Everyday Pasta, Giada’s Family Dinners, and Everyday Italian - a spinoff from her hit T.V. show that launched her television career.

Since her time on Everyday Italian, Giada has built a large following of fans who love her simple and light take on Italian food. Here are two of Giada’s most popular recipes as recognized by the Food Network.

Tomato Vegetable Casserole

With a short prep time of fifteen minutes, it’s no wonder this delicious recipe is a fan-favorite. To make this dish, simply toss potato, yam, bell pepper, carrots, salt and pepper and olive oil in a baking dish.

Then, arrange the layer of onions, zucchini, tomato, and parmesan cheese over top before baking until golden brown.

Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce

To make this dish, you’ll need a grill or barbecue. First, coat the steaks with salt, pepper, and oil and grill them until desired. Next, cook the sauce made up of butter, onions, salt, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, and wine. Lastly, cut the steak and drizzle the sauce over the slices before serving.

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Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.