written by leslie fitzsimons
Giada De Laurentiis was born in Rome and grew up in a classic
Italian household, where the kitchen was always bustling and
cooking and eating were the social activities that bonded an
extended family. But hers was no ordinary family. With a famous
movie-producer grandfather (Dino De Laurentiis) and an actress
What is the philosophy of your culinary style?
I want to help novice cooks make Italian dishes that are accessible and don’t involve a lot of work, but which also have maximum flavour and fresh ingredients. I try to keep the recipes to one page. And of course, with gorgeous photos of the food.
What was your experience with culinary education?
I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The best part was being able to travel. Not just to France, but my education took me all around Europe. But I missed my family terribly.
What are the qualities a successful chef should have?
Passion. That might sound simple, but everything else flows from that. You can go to the right schools and have the right skills, but a chef needs passion to be creative and work from the heart.
What are the greatest joys about your work, and even the greatest stresses?
I love being able to share my culture, my food, my family with people around the world. The hardest part is being away from my family for long periods of time.
Do you have any favourite foods to cook with – and any guilty pleasures?
Lemons and sugar. In that order!
Who is your favorite person to cook with?
My Aunt Raffy, who appears on my TV show quite a lot. I grew up in the kitchen with her, my mother, and grandfather.
Can you pick three cookbooks to save in a time capsule?
The Joy of Cooking, a must for any kitchen. The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller is a great example of gourmet creativity that anybody can do in their own kitchen. And Nobu the Cookbook, by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.
If you were stranded on a desert island for a year surviving on coconuts and seaweed, what would be the first meal you’d crave eat after you were rescued?
Baked ziti and chocolate