Giada De Laurentiis Reveals Her Kitchen Biggest Mistake – and It Happened on Thanksgiving

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis knows her way around a kitchen. The Food Network star, who hosts a plethora of shows including Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, Giada Entertains, Giada in Italy, and Giada’s Weekend Getaways, is clearly a pro at her culinary craft. Yet De Laurentiis revealed that she had her most momentous kitchen fail on the biggest food holiday of the year – Thanksgiving.

Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis
Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

A career shift

De Laurentiis originally wanted to become a food stylist and hadn’t considered work as a television personality. “I wasn’t looking to get into TV. My family was in the movie business, so I was never interested in that world,” she told Food & Wine in 2011. “I had been helping my friend who was a food stylist and, well, I really basically got my break from Food & Wine.”

The celebrity chef ended up getting noticed by a Food Network exec. “I was styling for one of Food & Wine’s Thanksgiving shoots, and someone at the magazine asked to do a story on my family and their food-lunch with the De Laurentiis family,” De Laurentiis recalled. “Well, an executive at the Food Network found the article and read the recipes, and called me up saying he was looking to do an Italian cooking show and asked if I had experience. He said he had seen my recipes and seen me but didn’t know how I’d be on camera, so he asked me to put together a demo. Nine months later I did it, and Everyday Italian was born—purely accidentally.”

At the time, De Laurentiis hadn’t expected such a change in her career path. “I really thought I’d become a food stylist and then went in a completely different direction. The first year it aired was 2003,” she said.

Turkey 911

The culinary guru has no problem copping to mistakes. De Laurentiis admitted to having her biggest kitchen fail on a holiday synonymous with food. “When I first started catering, I worked for a family, and the first meal I made for them was Thanksgiving. I love cooking Thanksgiving,” she said. “It’s actually, for me, one of the easier meals to cook because there’s so much planning you can do in advance, that you can plan it out in different stages.”

The family De Laurentiis was cooking for had a four-legged friend that tended to get under foot – literally. “The thing is, they had a big dog, and I wasn’t used to cooking around dogs,” she revealed. “I tripped over the dog once I put the turkey on the platter. Once the turkey hit the floor, that dog got to it before I did.”

De Laurentiis had to get creative to save the meal. “So, there was no longer a turkey for Thanksgiving, but lots of sides,” she recalled. “The woman I was cooking for had some pasta sauces in her pantry, so I whipped up some pasta really fast. It was one of my first jobs out of school. I was pretty horrified.”

Tries to keep it simple

Despite being a renowned chef, De Laurentiis likes to create accessible meals that viewers can easily replicate. “My goal is to make Italian food clean and accessible and beautiful and tasty, with simple ingredients that people can find at a local grocery store, because people don’t want to go to a gourmet shop in search of items that will sit in their pantry for years after they use just a teaspoon or pinch of them,” she told Food & Wine.

The Food Network personality strives to show viewers how enjoyable cooking can be. “I try to have a lot of fun with what I do and smile and laugh as much as I can… and it shows people how much fun it can be in the kitchen,” she said. “I think you can tell the food is close to my heart, too, because I’m doing what I do best.”

Read more: How Chef Giada De Laurentiis Eats So Much and Stays In Shape