Giada De Laurentiis Earned This College Degree Before Heading to Culinary School

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis is one of today’s hottest stars on Food Network, hosting a plethora of shows including Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, and Giada’s Weekend Getaways. With such a natural talent for all things culinary, some may find it hard to imagine De Laurentiis in any other type of career.

Yet before starting her journey into becoming a chef, De Laurentiis was pursuing a degree in this field.

Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit

Finding her true calling

De Laurentiis believes that when it comes to making a career out of your passion, it’s wise to take an inventory on your strengths. “Hopefully you’ve picked something that you truly are good at and that you can figure out whatever your niche is in that business and figure out what sets you apart from everyone else,” the Food Network star advised, according to Entrepreneur. “What gifts and talents do you have that you don’t see in your area, and then highlight those things.”

The culinary guru also places importance on having the confidence necessary to accomplish your goals. “A lot of it comes from self-confidence that you can do what it is that you say you can do,” De Laurentiis shared. “You’ll see that people who believe they can do something regardless of whether they can do it or not, they somehow convince others they can do it. No one will sell you the way you do. And work your tail off.”

Changing paths

With De Laurentiis’ talent, one would think she has spent her whole life in the kitchen. Yet she chose to study anthropology at UCLA, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the major in 1996.

Despite earning the degree in her chosen field at the time, De Laurentiis took a sharp turn in her professional path and decided to attend the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris in her twenties. She previously shared how intimidating the experience was going to a new school that conversed in a language she didn’t speak.

“You already know I’m a little person, I lost 10 pounds,” she told People in 2018. “I couldn’t eat, sleep, I was so … I didn’t speak French, the classes were in French … I don’t know what I was thinking. The whole time. What was I thinking in this life because I am not that person. I don’t take those kind of risks, but I always wanted to go to culinary school.”

The celeb chef credited her parents for giving her the push she needed to embark on her new journey. “My parents … and I’m the first in my family to go to college, and my parents were like, ‘You can’t possibly know what you want to do so why don’t you buy yourself some time?’” De Laurentiis said. “I paid for my own college… and then I said I want to go to culinary school, and they finally were like, okay fine.”

Choosing to stand out

While the culinary industry is a male-dominated field, De Laurentiis revealed that she didn’t let that imbalance deter her from following her dreams. “Early on in my career, there were plenty of people who didn’t take me seriously as a chef because I am a woman and because of my size,” she revealed. “Rather than fight against it, I decided to own what made me different and it became an important part of my brand.”

View this post on Instagram

Florence to Venice… @shanefarley

A post shared by Giada DeLaurentiis (@giadadelaurentiis) on

She advises others looking to make their mark in saturated industries to find a way to differentiate themselves from the crowd. “Being one-of-a-kind helps me to stand out in a very competitive field,” De Laurentiis shared. “That is my best advice to others trying to enter any crowded or competitive industry–figure out what makes you unique and special rather than trying to mimic another person to recreate their success.”

Wise words from a true success story!