In this age of wall-to-wall branding, several high-profile chefs and food TV personalities have chosen to make their names part of the cultural conversation by opening their own shops. From books to balsamic vinegar, these chefs are creating a wide variety of products that are extensions of their carefully crafted brands, allowing them to find their way into your pantry, not just your living room.
The ancestor of this trend is undoubtedly Rachel Ray. After becoming famous as a presenter 30 minute meal On the grocery chain, Ray grew into a bona fide tycoon, building a vast empire of branded products that included appliances, home furnishings, cookware and dog food. Sure, there’s lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, but her empire spanned much more than food. However, now these celebrity chefs are teaming up with Williams-Sonoma to not only produce homewares, but to handpick their own products designed to help their fans cook and live.
In Shelf Obsessed, Eater takes a closer look at these stores and tries to answer one important question: What exactly are these chefs trying to sell us?
Famous: Giada De Laurentiis
Now a legitimate food star, Giada De Laurentiis first rose to fame in 2003 with her cooking series, Italian every day, debuted on the Food Network. Over the years, De Laurentiis has gone on to build her own empire, with multiple cooking shows on the Food Network, two Las Vegas restaurants, and a 2008 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host.
De Laurentiis’s star has soared so high that she has earned the status of one of the names favored by only the most famous stars, including Beyoncé and Cher. Giada made her first foray into the world of branded products in 2008 when she teamed up with pasta maker Barilla to create a line of Italian-inspired jarred sauces. In 2010, he launched kitchenware, cookware and other pasta sauces at Target. But in 2017, she opened the store Giadzy, which is always Giada.
Giadzy is your one-stop shop for Giada’s recipes, travel tips, and of course, Italian pantry essentials. The online-only market has a passion for all things Italian from the Rome-born chef, especially high-end warehouse brands imported from small, artisanal producers. Tomato pasta for $11, a bag of dried pasta for $17, and a small bottle of spherical black truffle juice for $120.
With bluefin tuna and organically grown tomatoes in perfectly decorated, picture-perfect containers, Giazzi sells more than just groceries, cosmopolitan chic. Each product aims to capture the breezy, opulent, and much-traveled-to-Europe vibe of the De Laurentiis as they whip up bolognese and tiramisu for Sunday dinner, vociferously chanting Italian words. It’s something you’ll be proud to accidentally leave on the counter when you’re done cooking a stylish dinner inspired by coastal Italian cuisine. (Actually, Giadzy has an Amalfi-themed cooking set.)
Above all, Jiaji wants to be a place where you enjoy a little bit of fun every day, assuming you’ve got the cash. The items are expensive, yes, but these dishes have an “everyday” feel to them, especially when paired with the site’s accompanying recipes. Here, Giada believes that one of life’s greatest luxuries is to embrace it good olive oil or delicious jam, or even the toast you eat at the sink every morning for breakfast. What’s more, the site seems to say that the cost is reasonable—a $60 jar of tuna has traveled all the way from Italy after being painstakingly crafted by professional artisans.
If that’s the vibe you’re dying to cultivate, these five products perfectly embody Giada De Laurentiis’ Italian aesthetic. Here’s what you need to cook like her, or at least pretend you know Italian food.
If you want to be as rich as Giada but are gluten-free: carnaroli rice flour, $15.50
When you’re in need of an elegant twist, Giazzi Riso Buono’s $15.50 Carnaroli Rice Flour is ready for you. There’s only 5.6 ounces of flour in this glass jar, less than a third of what you’d find in a $5 box of Koda Farms mochiko , but there’s no denying it can bring some sophistication to your messy, overstuffed pantry. It’s produced in Piedmont, and dinner guests can tell when they tuck into a crunchy fiori di zucca fritti (fried zucchini flowers) or a slice of Giada’s famous gluten-free banana bread.
is Eat pray love A moment of privacy at home: Italian giardiniera ($30)
It’ll set you back $30, but there’s probably no fancier giardiniera in the world than the brand Giadzy offers, and it’s storied. Former restaurateur Morgan Pasquale and his wife Luciana Silvestri’s hand-crafted iamdiniera in Italy were so popular that they closed the restaurant in 2012 to focus entirely on making pickles. Unlike typical Italian pickles, this giardiniera is made with fennel and chives. Good Italian pedigree: Vegetables are grown in Veneto, salted in Italian white wine vinegar and preserved with sea salt from the “Ancient Servia Salt Fields”.
For a new ingredient that can be taught to dinner guests: caper fruits
While you’re making Giada’s pasta puttanesca or salmon piccata, the cheap donkeys on your grocery store shelf just won’t do. This 5.3-ounce bottle of salted capers comes from the Italian island of Pantelleria, which produces “the tastiest and largest” capers. Seasoning them with salt helps bring out the flavor, and Giada recommends serving the salami on a platter because of its large size.
A trip to Italy’s coast for less than a plane ticket: a $60 jar of tuna
This fish is not a StarKist, it is caught by fourth generation fishermen off the coast of Setara. But does that make it 10 times more expensive than the occasional $6 tuna at the regular supermarket? Maybe! Especially if I plan White lotusA themed dinner where I treat my guests to a really glamorous dinner – perhaps Vitello tonnato – before one of them is mysteriously murdered.
For absolute luxury in a bottle: only the best balsamic vinegar
Crafted in Modena, where producers follow strict organic and biodynamic cultivation practices before aging for 12 years, this single bottle of balsamic vinegar costs $108. But anyway, you deserve such a delicious treat. I’d love to have her stylish bottles on the kitchen shelf, along with her elaborate cookbooks and beautiful tableware. Finally, if you show off your beautiful villa in Sicily, it won’t look good on the table there either.