Giada De Laurentiis’ ‘Most Important’ Piece of Advice for Summer Entertaining

Entertaining can be tricky no matter the season. But when temperatures rise and parties go outside Giada De Laurentiis knows what to do to make hosting easier. The “most important thing” the Food Network star suggests for fail-proof summer entertaining? Don’t “try to do everything.” 

Giada De Laurentiis cooks with more fresh fruit and fresh vegetables in the summer

Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis wearing a grey and white top and smiling at her restaurant opening
Giada De Laurentiis | Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

The date is set. People are coming over but what to make them? Classic barbecue food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and baked beans? What does De Laurentiis do? She tends to cook with more fresh ingredients come summertime. 

In a 2009 interview with Redbook magazine, the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef said she uses “a lot more citrus and colors” in the summer months. She also shared that she tends to serve lighter dishes. 

“The sun makes people crave something a little bit lighter,” De Laurentiis said. “Caprese salads [with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil] are wonderful. Fresh fruits are wonderful, and I use a lot more fresh, raw vegetables.” 

The food doesn’t have to be complicated either. De Laurentiis said that because the food’s fresh (read: more flavorful) added seasoning probably isn’t necessary. 

“Everything has more flavor in summer, so all of a sudden you can eat things that are fresh and you don’t have to doctor them up with a lot of salt or any other kind of seasoning,” she explained. 

So embrace the flavors of the season and go for fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden or farmers market. Think easy watermelon recipes or dishes packed with fresh corn

De Laurentiis says the ‘most important thing’ for fail-proof summer entertaining is ‘that nobody try to do everything on their own’

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis poses in her restaurant Giada at The Cromwell Las Vegas, 2014
Giada De Laurentiis | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Speaking to InStyle in June 2014 the Giada at Home host shared what she considers the key to fail-proof summer entertaining. 

“I think that, to me, the most important thing is that nobody try to do everything on their own,” she said. “Meaning, in the summertime you don’t really want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so assemble as much as you can. Cook outside as much as you can to avoid being in a hot kitchen and making your entire house really warm and having to crank up the air. Spend as much time outside as you can.”

That’s it. No particular recipes or tools to make summer entertaining easier, just ask for a hand in the kitchen. Better yet, take it outside. 

The Food Network star’s easy summer recipes for entertaining

RELATED: Giada De Laurentiis’ Picnic Pasta Is An Easy Summer Pasta Salad

Want to take De Laurentiis’ entertaining advice a step further and make one of her own recipes for a party? The former Everyday Italian host has a variety of summer dishes that can easily feed a crowd or be made in advance. 

Take her Picnic Pasta recipe. It’s a 5-star pasta salad that can be ready to eat in as little as 25 minutes. Remember what De Laurentiis mentioned about cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients that don’t need much seasoning? Her recipe for Marinated Zucchini and Summer Squash is a great example. She seasons them with garlic and just a little sprinkling of herb and grills them for an easy side dish.