Giada De Laurentiis has become a household name. With an impressive background of culinary training and a unique personable charm, she is a globally revered celebrity chef who continues to prove her skill and accessibility not only with her expanding presence beyond Food Network but also with the great success of her cookbooks, brand alliances, newly launched food products and recurring role on the “Today Show.”
Born in Rome, Giada grew up in a large Italian family where the culture of food was a staple in and of itself. As the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada consistently found herself in the family’s kitchen and spent a great deal of time at her grandfather’s restaurant, DDL Foodshow. After graduating from the University of California in Los Angeles with a degree in anthropology, Giada’s passion for cooking remained. She eventually made the decision to commence a culinary career and began her professional training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, specializing in both cuisine and pastry. Following, she returned to Los Angeles, where her training included positions at the prestigious Ritz Carlton Fine Dining Room and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills. She later founded GDL Foods, a catering company in Los Angeles.
Giada’s career start on Food Network began in 2002 when she was discovered by a network executive upon reading an article about her and the De Laurentiis family in FOOD & WINE magazine. Since then, Giada has become one of Food Network’s most recognizable faces. Her half-hour, daytime cooking show, “Everyday Italian,” features quick, healthy and satisfying Italian dishes and airs twelve times a week at both 11am and 4:30pm on FN. Her primetime show,
“Giada’s Weekend Getaways,” debuted in January 2007 and follows Giada to popular destinations in and around the United States as she explores the cities’ most notable restaurants and activities. Giada can also be seen in Food Network specials, such as “Giada in Paradise: Capri and Santorini,” and as a judge on the highly popular series, “Next Food Network Star.” Finally, and with much anticipation, in October 2008, Food Network premiered Giada’s new series called, “Giada At Home.” The show remains true to her Italian roots while also offering viewers a more realistic taste of Giada’s California lifestyle.
The foray into cookbooks was an obvious decision, allowing Giada’s loyal viewership to reference, prepare and share their favorite recipes. De Laurentiis’ first book, “Everyday Italian,” showcases many of the delicious recipes from her cooking show of the same name. Her second book entitled, “Giada’s Family Dinners,” quickly became a #1 New York Times best-seller as did her third cookbook, “Everyday Pasta,” which was released in April 2007. An eagerly-awaited fourth book, “Giada’s Kitchen,” hit bookshelves on September 30, 2008 and debuted at #2 on the New York Times best-seller list in its first week. All four books are published by Random House/Clarkson Potter.
Giada’s overall success and notoriety yielded her a role as spokesperson for Barilla, the world’s largest producer and manufacturer of pasta. Giada took her relationship with Barilla one step further, entrusting the Italian arm of the brand, known as Academia Barilla, to license and produce four products under Giada’s name. The products: Extra-virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Tuscan Herb Mix, and Sea Salt with Fresh Lemon Zest, debuted in January 2008 and is sold at various gourmet and specialty stores across the United States.
Giada had been a recurring guest on the “Today Show” up until her stint as a correspondent during the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino secured her a role as a contributing correspondent on the nation’s #1 morning show where she highlights current trends in travel, cuisine and lifestyle.
De Laurentiis currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Todd and daughter, Jade.
For more information, visit www.giadadelaurentiis.com
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Mario Batali believes that olive oil is as precious as gold, shorts are acceptable attire for every season and food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty. To that end, Mario creates magic night after night in his many New York City Italian hot spots, the flagship of which is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an award-winning Greenwich Village restaurant where Mario has seamlessly combined traditional Italian principles with intelligent culinary adventure since June 1998.
Raised in Seattle, Mario initially studied the golden age of Spanish theater at Rutgers University. Soon after graduating, he took his first bite of culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, from which he withdrew almost immediately due to a "lack of interest." An apprenticeship with London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White and three years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne (population 200) gave him the essential skills and knowledge to return to his native U.S., anxious to plant his orange-clogged feet firmly in the Italian restaurant business.
Always eager to educate the masses about Italian cuisine, Mario hosts two Food Network programs, Molto Mario and Ciao America. He also engages in fierce culinary battles in the Food Network series Iron Chef America. Mario has authored Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter, 1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter, 2000) and The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002). His latest book Molto Italiano-327Simple Italian Recipes (Ecco, 2005) is his most ambitious cookbook to date.
Among his many accolades, Mario was named Man of the Year in the chef category by GQ in 1999. In 2002 he won the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: New York City award and in 2005 the James Beard Foundation awarded Mario Outstanding Chef of the Year. Mario is also one of the recipients of the 2001 D'Artagnan Cervena Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, a prestigious lifetime achievement award.
In addition to Babbo, Mario also owns Lupa, a Roman-style trattoria in Greenwich Village, and Italian Wine Merchants, a wine shop off Union Square. Esca, a southern Italian seafood trattoria, opened near the Theater District in April 2000 and in January 2003, Mario and partner Joseph Bastianich opened another downtown eatery, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, located near historic Washington Square Park. Mario and Bastianich went on to open Bistro du Vent, which serves southern French fare around the corner from Esca. In the winter of 2005, the duo opened Del Posto, a high-end Italian spot in the trendy Meatpacking District.
Mario splits his time between New York City’s Greenwich Village and Northport, Michigan with his wife Susi Cahn of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons, Benno and Leo.
Iron Chef America Profile:
Restaurants: Babbo, Lupa, Otto, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, Bistro Du Vent, Del Posto
Cuisine: Italian, Spanish, and French
Interests: Family, travel, golf
Ideal secret ingredient: Seafood
Culinary inspirations: Alain Ducasse, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Jeremiah Tower, Alice Waters
Ideal judge: Bart Starr or Jeremiah Tower, two of my heroes
Culinary secret weapon: Vin cotto or balsamic vinegar
Favorite restaurant: Pearl Oyster, Mesa Grill, or Gray’s Papaya
Favorite food: Anything anyone else makes
Food you won’t go near: Durian
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Fried grasshoppers
Favorite food destination: Bologna for lasagna, Brodo for tortellini
Alternative dream job: Pool boy in Malibu
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