Giada De Laurentiis is one of the most recognizable faces on the Food Network. Alongside chefs Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, De Laurentiis has proven her popularity over and over again. While Giada seems happy and optimistic to millions of viewers worldwide, behind the scenes she is constantly fighting back criticism and negative perceptions. Keep reading to take a look at the life of Giada De Laurentiis, her television career, relationships, and everything in between!
Food Network Noticed Her Early On
Giada was a successful food stylist for Food & Wine Magazine in 2002. It was at this point in her still burgeoning career that an executive from Food Network noticed her and was very impressed.
Food Network was looking for new faces for the network, and Giada was selected as one. She showed incredible on-camera charisma and was authentic in how she represented herself and her Italian heritage. It was a match made in food heaven.
Her Net Worth Is $15 Million
As of 2018, Giada De Laurentiis has an estimated net worth of $15 million. She earned her money thanks to her professional drive and motivation. She worked her way up from culinary school to on-air personality in a matter of years and has authored several successful cookbooks.
As you'll find out, it's not just her television shows and cookbooks that have made her a millionaire. De Laurentiis also has her own line of culinary products!
She Learned Not To Show Pain When Burned
Working as a chef, you're going to get burned. It's inevitable and will happen numerous times throughout your career. When Giada became an on-air chef, she had to learn how to hide the pain she felt when getting burned.
Giada actually needed to be coached on how to not make a sound when picking up a hot pan lid or something else. Irene Wong was her coach and taught her how to smile through the hurt so the audience wouldn't think anything was wrong.
She Stars In A Laundry List Of Shows
One of Giada's first shows on the Food Network was Everyday Italian. The cooking show was a massive hit and turned De Laurentiis into a huge star. With the success of that show, suddenly the chef found herself hosting multiple shows.
Early in her run at Food Network, Giada appeared as a host or a chef on shows including Giada's Weekend Getaways, Behind the Bash, Handy Mandy, and Pixie Hollow Bake Off.
She's Cooked For Royalty
In her now-iconic career, Giada De Laurentiis has hosted several hit cooking shows, authored a New York Times bestseller, won an Emmy Award, and cooked for British royalty. De Laurentiis was lucky enough to cook for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited California.
Instead of cooking Italian, Giada prepared the royals a true California feast of Frico cups with shrimp and avocado as well as chicken and slaw.
Behind The Bash Tapped He To Host In 2006
Giada De Laurentiis was chosen as the host of Behind the Bash in 2006. The show was a documentary that took a look at how the Grammy Awards catered their food behind the scenes.
Filming took Giada all over the United States, from Las Vegas to New York to Los Angeles. Only two seasons of the show aired, but it was still considered a success for Giada as it was still early in her career.
Health Is Important To Her
Giada is open about her love for carb-heavy Italian food. Knowing that it's pretty surprising to see how small she is. As much as De Laurentiis loves a good pasta, she loves living a healthy lifestyle just as much.
There are two keys to Giada staying fit - yoga and walking. She always makes sure there is time in her busy schedule to both hit the mat and enjoy the weather.
She Limits What She Eats
Another important aspect of Giada De Laurentiis' healthy lifestyle is portion control. She may make big meals on TV, but she only takes a few bites if any. On set, when the cameras are off, she prefers salads or a little dark chocolate.
Hopefully, someone gets to eat all the delicious food she makes on set! We know we could never have the same self-control this food maestro reportedly has.
Jade Inherited Her Mother's Last Name
In most families, children are traditionally given the same last name as their father, continuing the legacy on his side. When it comes to Giada De Laurentiis' family, things work a little differently.
The De Laurentiis family has a tradition where any woman born will take on the surname of their mother. That was the case with Giada, and it is also the case with Jade Marie De Laurentiis Thompson.
She's Won Many Awards, Including An Emmy!
Throughout her career, Giada has won many accolades, but the biggest of all came in 2008 when she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host. She has been nominated two other times.
Giada won another major award in 2012 when she took home the Gracie Award for Outstanding Host for her work on Giada at Home. That same year, she was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
Her First Book Was Published In 2005
Giada wrote and published her first cookbook in 2005 with the help of a ghostwriter. She titled the book after her TV show, Everyday Italian. She would go on to continue authoring cookbooks and has published nine as of this writing.
Incredibly, two of her books topped the New York Times' Best Seller list; Giada at Home and Weeknights with Giada. The popularity of her book can be attributed to the family stories she includes in them.
She Comes From A Film Background
Giada might be best known for her skills in the kitchen, but did you also know she comes from film royalty? Her mother, Veronica De Laurentiis, is an actress and her grandfather, Dino De Laurentiis, was one of the most influential film producers of all-time.
Dino helped bring a European flair to American cinema. He won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature in 1957 for the film La Strada.
Giada Started Her Own Line Of Cutlery
Not one to settle for being a famous author and television chef, Giada De Laurentiis decided to get into the cutlery industry. She designed a set of knives that were branded with her name.
Refusing to put her name on a bad product, Giada also made sure her knives were up to her own culinary standards. If you want to chop veggies like Giada, you can buy one of her knives for $125.
She's Camera Shy
Giada De Laurentiis built her career on being a television host, which makes it seem odd she doesn't really like being in front of the camera. When she first started out she was forced to get out of her comfort zone.
Speaking with People she revealed, "In the beginning, it was very intimidating." She's also embarrassed about the time she tried to feed Al Roker raw chicken on live television, "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."
She Has A "Dump Bucket" On Set
Earlier we revealed that Giada rarely eats the food she cooks on television. This, of course, seems strange considering you can see her take bites of what she makes to tell the audience how it tastes.
Reportedly, De Laurentiis has a bucket on set, so when the cameras stop, she can spit the food out, "Never eats. Never... They have a dump bucket that is brought out the second they cut."
There's A Reason Giada Named Her Daughter Jade
Similar to her last name, there's a reason Jade was given her first name. In Italian, Giada means Jade, meaning she handed more than just her last name down to her daughter.
As for whether or not Giada plans to have more children, the answer is no. At this point in her life, she is more than happy to just have one daughter. She still has plenty of other things she would like to accomplish in her career.
Giada Is Not Very Tall
Another important reason Giada is careful about what she eats is her body frame. Standing at just 5'1," she is fairly petite. Thankfully she doesn't let her size stop her from being a culinary icon who can handle any ingredient thrown at her with ease.
Plus, her personality makes her seem much larger than life. Just watching her on television and seeing the boisterous way she carries herself, you would probably never guess how tall she is.
Her Brother Passed Away In 2003
Giada comes from an extremely tight-knit family. She was one of the four children; herself, her sister, and her two brothers. Although her family was originally from Italy, Giada and her siblings were all raised in Southern California.
One of her brothers, Dino, decided to get into the film industry as his mother and grandfather had. Tragically, Dino had melanoma and lost his battle with it in 2003. Since Dino passed away, Giada has become a major advocate for melanoma prevention.
Cooking Wasn't Her First Career Choice
Growing up, Giada De Laurentiis had an undeniable passion for cooking but wasn't interested in making a career out of it. After graduating from high school, she went to college and earned a degree in social anthropology.
De Laurentiis went to UCLA, starting her college career in 1996. Once she graduated four years later, it became clear to her that cooking was really where her heart was, and she changed career paths.
She Applied To Le Cordon Bleu
With her sights set on becoming a chef, Giada De Laurentiis applied to the prestigious culinary academy, Le Cordon Bleu. The school is located in Paris, which would be a big move for young Italian living in America.
While at Le Cordon Bleu, De Laurentiis studied under the world's best chefs. She mastered the art of cooking thanks to the school and was now one step closer to achieving fame as a professional TV chef.
She Owns A Restaurant In Las Vegas
With all her fame and fortune, Giada has always been a chef at heart and wanted to open her own restaurant. Her dream came true in 2014 when she opened Giada in Las Vegas at the Cromwell hotel.
The restaurant serves Italian food and was an instant success. People loved the food so much that Giada opened a second Las Vegas restaurant located at Ceasar's Palace and a third restaurant in D.C.
She Is Very Much A Leo
Not everyone believes in astrological signs, and while we don't know if Giada does, we do know she is very much a Leo. Leo's are considered to be energetic and driven individuals. They aren't afraid to speak their minds, either.
These simple characteristics are all a part of who Giada De Laurentiis is. You might even say her astrological description is why she is as successful as she has been.
Giada Is The Oldest Sibling
As we already said, Giada De Laurentiis is one of four children. What we didn't reveal is that she is the oldest sibling of the clan. And like all siblings, they weren't always nice to each other.
Growing up, Giada would tell her sister Eloisa that there was something in her eye, only to pull out her eyelash. As the kids grew up, the sibling rivalry subsided, but we still wouldn't mess with Giada today.
She Spends Her Time And Money Giving Back
Since the passing of her brother, Giada has become a major proponent for cancer research and awareness. She gives both her money and her personal time to help organizations including Stand Up 2 Cancer and the American Heart Association.
By giving her time, Giada hopes she's sending the message that the issue is personal to her. She's not doing it to receive good press, but because she honestly cares about the cause.
Her Skin Routine Is Key To Her Beauty
How old would you guess Giada De Laurentiis is? Would he believe she's in her 50s? Neither did we, but it's true. De Laurentiis was born in 1970 and turned 50 in 2020.
To keep looking like she's still in her 20s, Giada has a secret skin remedy that helps fight blemishes and keeps her face soft. Her trick is a combination of baking soda and olive oil, which creates a face mask and helps keep her skin looking pristine.
Jade Is Becoming More Prominent In Her Shows
A proud parent, Giada has made sure to include Jade in her television shows when the opportunity has presented itself. When Giada Entertains premiered, the show set the tone for the chef to introduce the world to her daughter.
As the world began working from home in 2020, Giada at Home started filming new episodes, with Jade being featured in almost every single one. When she's old enough will she carry on the family cooking legacy?
Her Friends Are Major Stars
Being rich and famous has led Giada De Laurentiis to mingle in the same circles as other major celebrities. She's also been featured on shows like Today for cooking segments.
One of Giada's most famous friends is Gwen Stefani. The two even paired up with each other for a live Christmas taping that showed viewers how to make an apple pie. De Laurentiis has been seen laughing it up with the likes of Al Roker and Maria Menounos as well.
Her First Job Was In Los Angeles
Once her studies were over in Paris, Giada went back home to Los Angeles. In the blink of an eye, her name was flying around the biggest restaurant circles and it wouldn't be long until she got a job.
De Laurentiis ended up taking a job at Spago, one of the most famous restaurants in the world. It was also owned and operated by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. After a short time at Spago, Giada started working as a stylist for food magazines.
Giada Has A Deal With Target
If you thought cutlery was all Giada wanted to put her name on, we have news for you. Looking to reach as wide a consumer base as possible, De Laurentiis signed a deal with Target to sell a wide range of products with her name.
Products include utensils, Italian pastas and sauces, and stainless steel pots and pans. These items can be found nationwide and are perfect for the Giada De Laurentiis fan in your family.
She Loves Her Fur Family
When Giada De Laurentiis is back home and relaxing, there are few things she enjoys more than cuddling with her fur family. The animal lover has two dogs and one cat. All of the pets have made appearances on Giada's Instagram account.
It's hard not to instantly fall in love with an animal with such blue eyes. Plus, seeing a celebrity with their pets helps show their personality off-camera, humanizing them more for their fans.
She Opened A 4th Restaurant In Baltimore
In 2018, Giada De Laurentiis officially opened her fourth restaurant. With several shows and nine books under her belt, we don't know how she has time for everything she does!
The new restaurant opened in the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore and is named GDL Italian by Giada. With so much success in the food industry, it's impossible not to wonder what industry De Laurentiis might try and take by storm next!
Giada Has Tried To Live A Private Life
Watching Giada De Laurentiis on television, it's impossible not to gravitate towards her big smile and loving personality. She eagerly describes her dishes, painting a vivid picture that makes her food seem incredible.
The person you see on television isn't always the person their friends see in private though. And try as De Laurentiis might, details of her life outside of work, like her very public divorce, have made their way into the tabloids.
Her Marriage To Todd Thompson Ended In 2015
Giada De Laurentiis met fashion designer Todd Thompson in the early 2000s. It was love at first sight for the pair, and in 2003 they tied the knot. For over a decade, their marriage seemed perfect, but that wasn't true.
In 2014, the couple announced they were separating. In 2015, the divorce was finalized. For Giada, it meant getting back in the dating game at 45-years-old with the entire world watching.
Did She Date Her Co-Stars?
With De Laurentiis on the market, rumors began to fly that she was cozying up with several of her co-stars. Some of those rumors even started while she was still married to Thompson.
Co-stars and other celebrities that Giada has been linked to include Bobby Flay, John Mayer, Matt Lauer, and television producer Shane Farley. It didn't help that Bobby Flay also got divorced in 2015, leading many to wonder if he and Laurentiis had secretly been dating.
She Denies Anything Happened With Flay
Giada took her battle with the tabloids head-on and defended herself on many occasions. When asked bluntly about her love life, she never shied away from giving honest and earnest answers.
When Andy Cohen brought up her suspected relationship with Bobby Flay on live television, De Laurentiis responded, "We're very good friends. We've worked for many years together, uh, but I don't think that's ever going to happen... Because I'm smarter than that."
Giada Has A No Touching Rule
Giada De Laurentiis is always quick to call out rumors that aren't true. She will also admit to the ones that are, like her preference not to be touched. She even admitted once, "I wish I could say no touchy-touchy."
As much as she prefers not to be touched, she also understands it comes with the territory. She doesn't want to look ungrateful or rude in front of fans who ask for pictures.
She Moved On From Todd In Just A Few Months
In September of 2015, Giada's divorce from Todd Thompson was finalized. One month later, she was seen getting cozy with television producer Shane Farley, one of the men who she was rumored to be connected to previously.
Farley separated from his wife in 2015, too, and now his romance with De Laurentiis could be made public. Speaking with People, he defended the new couple, "We would bump into each other, we would grab a drink. We were just friends and then eventually we started dating."
Were Her And Farley Dating Before Their Divorces?
Anytime anyone gets into a new relationship so close to ending the previous, questions will be asked. Shane Farley may have defended how his relationship started with Giada De Laurentiis, but that didn't stop people from speculating when they actually became romantic with each other.
Since both worked in television, the chances of them crossing paths while still involved with other people are highly likely. Still, there's no reason to believe they were unfaithful.
She's Now Focused On Raising Her Daughter
While married to Todd, Giada gave birth to her daughter, Jade. Today, while De Laurentiis pursues bigger television opportunities, she is also focused on raising her daughter. This is especially important as Jade enters her teenage years.
Jade Marie De Laurentiis Thompson was born in 2008 and is one of the most important parts of her mother's life. She has even been featured on several of Giada's cooking shows on the Food Network.
She Moved To Southern California After Her Parents Divorced
Giada De Laurentiis' parents got married the same year she was born, in 1970, in Rome. When her parents later got divorced, her mother moved the family to Southern California, where they grew up and attended school.
It was also at this time the siblings all took their mother's surname (which is now a tradition). Before moving to Southern California, Giada spent lots of time in the kitchen at her grandfather's restaurant, instilling a deep love of cooking in her from a young age.
She Wanted To Be A Pastry Chef
After graduating from UCLA and enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, Giada had big plans. She wanted to become a pastry chef, one of the hardest and most respected jobs in the restaurant industry.
As you know, when she graduated, she ended up working at Spago under the tutelage of Wolfgang Puck. Then her career really blossomed, and she left her love of pastry making behind. That hasn't stopped her from showing off her dessert skills on her television show!
Food Network Fans Didn't Think She Was A Real Chef
When Giada De Laurentiis first debuted on the Food Network, the station was flooded with angry letters. Fans of the network didn't believe that Giada was an actual chef. Instead, they believed she was a model and shouldn't have a show.
Now nearly two decades into her career, no one is questioning whether or not Giada is a real chef. This just goes to show how quickly some people are to judge another person based on the way they look.
She's Competed On Iron Chef
In November 2006, Giada teamed up with Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America to take on Rachel Ray and Mario Batali. The pair lost, which frustrated Giada, who is a very competitive person.
Bobby Flay seemed less bothered by the loss, which didn't sit well with his partner. Giada later revealed that she was so upset with Flay she refused to have any contact with him for eight months. All that is water under the bridge today, as they remain close friends.
She Loves The Smell Of Bread
Working as a television chef means that Giada is always in the test kitchen coming up with new recipes. And of the delicious scents likely perfuming her kitchen, the smell of baking bread is her favorite. If you've ever been in a kitchen with freshly baked bread you can understand why Giada is in love with the scent.
Bread making, like pastry making, is an art form and probably something De Laurentiis doesn't do all the time.
The Secret To Her Sparkling Teeth Is Kept In Her Fridge
When Giada smiles on camera, it's hard not to be amazed by how perfectly white and sparkling her teeth are. She has a huge smile and takes her dental maintenance very seriously.
So, what is the secret to her always perfect smile? It's really not much of a secret at all: she keeps teeth whitener in her fridge! She also makes sure to always have a little on hand just in case she needs a quick touch up.
There's One Kind Of Food She Refuses To Make
Because of her professional training, Giada De Laurentiis knows how to cook a variety of cuisines. There is one kind she never touches in the kitchen, though, and will only order as takeout or delivery.
That type of cuisine is Indian food. Giada won't attempt to cook curries or try to come up with the complex mix of spices on her own. We think it's good she knows her culinary limits and is able to be modest about her skills.
Spaghetti And Chocolate Was A Childhood Favorite
Children don't always have the most complex pallets. As you grow, you tend to get more curious about different foods and flavors. Giada was no different. As a child, one of her favorite foods was spaghetti and chocolate.
It's an odd combination, and something De Laurentiis admits, "once in a blue moon, I'll still have it." To make the dish, you simply melt chocolate and pour it over cooked spaghetti noodles.
She Wrote A Children's Book
Remember how we said Giada has written nine books? Not all of those have been cookbooks. She has also written a series of children's books called Recipe for Adventure.
In the books, a young girl travels the world exploring all the amazing cuisine there is in different places. Even if the book doesn't include any recipes, it's not surprising that De Laurentiis would make the stories about her biggest passion in life.
Her Health Routine Includes Taking 20 Vitamins A Day
Giada's healthy lifestyle is one of the reasons she has so much energy on her shows. Aside from regular exercise and salads, De Laurentiis admits she takes a lot of supplements:
"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."
She Loves Cheese On Her Pizza
When it comes to pizza toppings, Giada De Laurentiis likes to keep things simple. She doesn't need pepperoni, pepper, onions, mushrooms, olives, or whatever else you can think of. She just needs cheese - lots and lots of cheese.
Giada doesn't just stick to mozzarella though. Being born in Italy, she knows just how many different kinds of cheeses are available to top her dream pizza. Have you ever had taleggio on your pie?