Giada De Laurentiis Almost Lived a Hallmark Movie Life—Now She’s the Food Network’s Biggest Star

It’s hard to imagine Giada De Laurentiis as anything other than a Food Network star. But anyone who has lived a little knows that no matter what your course, everything can change in an instant. A party invitation you accept, a phone call you declineeven if you return a stranger’s smile or put on your headphones instead — an action (or inaction) that takes place in just a few seconds can change your trajectory. In the It was about time, gLAMOR talks to some of the most interesting women we know about the pivotal life moments that have shaped who they are today.

If Giada De Laurentiis wasn’t practically the face of the Food Network, she’d be opening a quirky but upscale bed and breakfast worthy of a Hallmark rom-com. “That was really what I originally thought I was going to do after going to cooking school and working for different chefs,” she says. gLAMOR. By “cooking school” she means the famous Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. By “different chefs” he means time spent working as a pastry chef under the tutelage of culinary legends like Wolfgang Puck.

Instead of opening her dream guesthouse, De Laurentiis rose to fame in the early 2000s with her first cooking series, Everyday Italian. “There’s been a shift from eating out to spending more time at home,” says the Italian-born chef. “Suddenly, everyone has to learn to cook.”

And learn from her that they did. Nearly 20 years later, De Laurentiis is an Emmy-winning chef who has produced no fewer than 11 cooking series and specials with her name in the title, while serving as a judge on shows such as The Next Food Network Star, Beat Bobby Flay, and Minced. She is also the author of book 10 New York Times best-selling cookbooks, as well as the founder and “entrepreneur-in-chief” of her own lifestyle and recipe platform, Giadzy. Her last series, Simply Giadawhich focuses on mindful eating and food preparation, debuted on the Food Network in January.

In addition to all this and more, De Laurentiis is the mother of a 14-year-old daughter, plus two dogs and a cat with her own Instagram account. Of course, it can be hard to catch a break. “I tried meditating, but I didn’t get very far,” she jokes. Luckily, her bathroom has heated floors when she needs to escape to stretch. “You close the bathroom door and people leave you alone.”

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De Laurentiis also opened up gLAMOR about the moment that changed the course of her career, the life lesson she’s still working on, and her favorite family recipe from childhood.

gLAMOR: Can you share a pivotal moment in your life that changed the trajectory of your future?

Giada De Laurentiis: I would say September 11th. It has had such a huge impact on people’s lives for so many reasons, one being that people have literally gone from spending money and time at restaurants to spending much more time entertaining at home. And so, suddenly, everyone has to learn to cook.

At that time I was working as a pastry assistant for Wolfgang Puck. On the weekends I had done some food styling with some friends who were food stylists for different magazines. Then I got a call from Food & Wine magazine, and they asked me to get my family together because in the new year they were making an issue of family cooking — because there was a shift from going out to spending more time at home, which is the same reason why Food Network also exploded. For that article in Food and wine, I created all the recipes and did a whole photo shoot. This article turned into my first Food Network cooking show called Everyday Italian.

How does your life today compare to the life you imagined when you were 10?

I had just moved to the States a few years before. I was born in Rome and moved to the States when I was seven, so I couldn’t even fathom the life I have today. I come from a large Italian family and the women traditionally married and had children, so I thought maybe that’s what I would do.

Do you have a favorite family recipe?

Yes, my favorite family recipe was spaghetti with pizza that my mom used to make. Basically, leftover pasta. We usually make it with spaghetti, but it can be any pasta. Mom would put eggs and parmesan cheese, put it in a pan with a little olive oil, fry it on one side – not fry, but fry – then either flip it over and fry the other side, or put it under the broiler to finish. top. This was my favorite thing.

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What’s your favorite recipe on your site, Giadzy, at the moment?

Right now, I have two things that I love. When I’m entertaining, I love to create these antipasto plates. Before I had Giadzy, I would source and bring home different pantry items—things like truffle honey or certain types of olives—and create these plates from different regions of Italy.

I turned them into a kit called Everything but the Formaggio, which includes Italian crackers, eggplant caponata, chestnut honey, and all that kind of stuff sitting on this beautiful Italian antipasto board, and then you buy your own cheese.

And then the other one that’s just a recipe is my Calabrian Fig Jam Crostini, which is basically just Calabrian chili and this Agrimontana fig jam that I got from northern Italy. I add a little Calabrian chili to spice it up and put it on a piece of brie on a crostini.

What is one life lesson you wish you had learned at a younger age?

Patience. I want things to happen quickly, as we all do, and I think with all the communication we can have these days, we expect everything right away. Patience is the life lesson I am still working on.

What helped you in this field?

Lots of yoga. Lots of yoga and deep breathing. This helped me find a place of peace and serenity that I don’t think I had before.

How do you deal with criticism?

That’s the worst part of public appearances. I will say it is a work in progress. I’ve become a bit more numb to it over the years. My daughter, on the other hand, gets angry about it. I am going back to yoga and breathing because it is very painful. Is very difficult. No matter how hard you try to distance yourself and numb yourself, it’s really hard when people bring you down. I just take it one day at a time; it’s just a work in progress, trying to find peace in the chaos.

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I mean, you get it, no matter what these days. I don’t think you have to be a famous person. The moment you put yourself out there, that’s the possible downside. But it also has a beautiful side. There are nice people who care about you and have wonderful things to say. As long as one trumps the other, then it’s worth doing. You can’t really live this life on this planet if you don’t put yourself out there.

What’s the song you play when you need to get out of a bad mood?

“The Last Dance” by Donna Summer. It just makes me dance and shake everything. My mom used to love that song too, so that probably has something to do with her.

Where is your favorite place to relax?

In my bathroom. I have heated floors, so I lie on the floor in the bathroom and that’s where I’d like to relax. I just feel like this is a place where I will be alone. You close the bathroom door and people leave you alone.

As we know, sleep is incredibly important and not always easy to get. What products or routines do you rely on for really good sleep?

I use the Calm app and love listening to the rain. The tropical rain really relaxes me. My daughter loves listening to guided meditations – she loves hearing a voice. I don’t want to hear voices. I just want to hear the sound of the rain, which I love.

What do you always have in your hand luggage when you travel?

I always have these Mini Rubata Grissoares in my hand luggage. I always have them in my travel bag because I don’t eat on planes, not even in Italy. So I just eat those cookies.

What is your favorite treat after a productive day?

I love a spoonful of chocolate spread with hazelnuts, even if it’s Nutella. I bring one from Milan, which I love, from the Piedmont area. It’s cleaner than Nutella. But a spoonful of this makes me really happy. He’s not without guilt, that’s for sure.

It originally appeared on Glamour



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