Italian-born Food Network Star Giada De Laurentiis first made an impression on American foodies as the host of her very first series, the aptly entitled “Everyday Italian,” back in 2003. Since then, the now 45-year old celebrity chef and mom has appeared on and starred in a number of other food-centric shows, including “Food Network Star,” “Giada at Home,” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” among others. On April 7, Examiner caught up with De Laurentiis for an exclusive exchange that touched on a number of topics, from her partnership with Triscuit to the strangest thing she keeps in her pantry.
Sherry Wight: You have a real passion for simple, wholesome foods, and I know from watching your career progress over the years that you also enjoy helping businesses –and budding chefs– to find success. Tell me about how your partnership with Triscuit helps to achieve both of these end goals.
Giada De Laurentiis: Triscuit has been a cracker trusted for starting with simple ingredients for over 100 years, and as someone who loves real food that starts simply, it was such a natural partnership for me. In March, I helped the brand announce their new campaign –Maker Fund– which elevates and encourages the work that goes into taking a simple idea and building something impactful in the food maker community. The brand funded 55 food maker projects on Indiegogo, donating $250,000 in total. It’s a really cool program that I was proud to support.
SW: In addition to being a busy chef, you’re a mom. How does being a mother to Jade color the way you view business and impact your project choices?
GD: I definitely make choices that are more thoughtful and matter so I can spend more time with Jade. I value my mommy moments with her more than anything else. She’s growing up so fast!
SW: What’s your favorite meal –from appetizer to dessert– to prepare and eat with your daughter?
GD: Our fave is breakfast for dinner! Waffles with pancetta and sometimes chocolate chip waffles as well [which is] Jade’s fave. For a snack, we play a game where we top a Triscuit with a whipped mascarpone mixture and Jade is allowed to top it with as many chocolate chips as will stick.
SW: Speaking of cooking, let’s get practical. What are two food items that any home cook should always have on hand, either in the fridge or the pantry?
GD: Olive oil and lemon.
SW: What’s the strangest item you currently have in your own pantry, and how do you plan to use it?
GD: Anchovy juice. I’ll be using a little in a pasta tonight!
SW: You’ve produced a number of excellent cookbooks to date. Which recipe is your absolute, all-time favorite that I need to go home and cook for my family tonight?
GD: My veggie bolognese. An oldie, but still great every time!
SW: I feel like we’re tempered and changed by those around us. As your career has progressed, which of your fellow chefs have most influenced the way you cook and view food?
GD: My family has always been my biggest inspiration with the way I cook and view food. A lot of my recipes and traditions are a result of my grandfather’s influence and of course my dearest Aunt Raffy.
SW: Finally, if you had a full 24 hours to spend doing anything you wanted, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
GD: Me plus Jade [equals] Paris. What more is there to say?