Giada De Laurentiis Almost Specialized in This Cuisine Instead of Italian

Giada De Laurentiis is known for her love of Italy and its multifaceted menu of foods. Living in the European country until she was seven years old, the Food Network star got to know the cuisine firsthand at an early age. Yet the Everyday Italian star initially planned on specializing in dishes other than pasta and osso buco.

Chef Giada De Laurentiis attends the 13th annual Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit Grand Tasting event presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at Caesars Palace
Giada De Laurentiis | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit

Giada De Laurentiis wanted to be a pastry chef

After graduating from UCLA, De Laurentiis decided to pursue her dream of being a chef and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. While in culinary school, she fell in love with French cuisine.

“I didn’t want to do Italian food,” De Laurentiis told Milk Street Radio. “I wanted to do French food. I went to Paris and I wanted to be an unbelievable pastry chef who could create sculptures out of sugar work, which is what I did a lot of in Paris.”

The Food Network star’s view of Italian cooking was quite different while at Le Cordon Bleu than what it is today.

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“I just didn’t feel like tossing pasta,” she remarked. “I was like no, that’s below me. What the heck? So that took a lot of time for me to sort of deal with my own demons.”

Food Network star noted different regions in Italian cuisine

Now that she specializes in Italian cooking, De Laurentiis pointed out that the dishes vary according to region.

“I think still to this day, a lot of Americans don’t realize that Italian food—in many countries this happens but—it’s very, very regional, the way they make things,” she explained. “So, lasagna in the South is completely different than a lasagna in the North… It’s just different traditions based on hundreds of years of people coming in and putting their sort of touch on them.”

With certain ingredients being more plentiful in specific areas, De Laurentiis described how regional availability of food items impacts how a dish is made.

“They really use local ingredients,” she said. “So why does the South use more olive oil and the North use butter? Because the North has more cows, the South doesn’t have a lot of cows. You know what I mean? They have olive trees and olive groves.”

Giada De Laurentiis in the bed & breakfast biz?

While De Laurentiis has huge success as a chef and Food Network personality, she has other aspirations she would eventually like to pursue.

“In a perfect world, I would buy a vineyard in the South of Italy, turn it into some kind of bed and breakfast and spend half the year there,” she revealed. “I’m trying to get back my Italian passport now in the hopes that someday I can do that.”

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Her recent Discovery+ show, Bobby and Giada in Italy, featured De Laurentiis serving as a tour guide to pal Bobby Flay in Rome and Tuscany. Clearly, her love for her native country is still going strong.

“That would be the ideal way of living my life,” she said of her potential bed & breakfast endeavor. “I don’t know that that will ever happen. But I will try.”