How Bobby Flay Reacted When He First Saw Giada De Laurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis has been with the Food Network for almost two decades. Food Network veteran Bobby Flay was one of the first people to see the chef in action. Here’s what Flay reportedly said about De Laurentiis when he first laid eyes on her.

How Giada De Laurentiis got her start on Food Network

Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis pose at an event while Bobby Flay holds a plate of food.
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay attend Barilla’s Italian Table hosted by Giada De Laurentiis during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Coca-Cola | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for NYCWFF

DeLaurentiis, who was born in Rome, Italy, is the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis. She honed her cooking skills at her grandfather’s restaurant, DDL Foodshow. The Food Network star went on to obtain an anthropology degree from UCLA. She then underwent culinary training at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu. De Laurentiis later trained at the Ritz-Carlton Fine Dining Room and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills.

De Laurentiis arrived on the Food Network scene back in 2002. A network executive first saw the chef in an issue of Food & Wine magazine. There was another new chef mentioned in that issue, but the executive liked De Laurentiis’ appearance, so he decided to pursue her instead for a spot on the Food Network, according to Allen Salkin in his book From Scratch.

The network planned to present her as a chef who could teach home cooks how to cook “everyday” Italian food–meals that were easy to make yet tasted good. Salkin said she was sort of like a “home ec teacher” while Mario Batali was a culinary “professor.”

What Bobby Flay first thought of Giada De Laurentiis

De Laurentiis immediately agreed to try out for her own Food Network show. She was given an opportunity to make a test video so the executives could see if she would be a good fit. De Laurentiis decided to make baked rigatoni for her video. A friend of hers who had a background in television filmed the audition.

An executive asked Flay to take a look at the audition and share his opinion of De Laurentiis. He was immediately struck by her beauty and camera presence. According to Salkin, Flay replied, “She’s really pretty. She seems like she’s good.” It seems Flay’s vote of confidence in addition to De Laurentiis’ good looks and culinary training helped her get a coveted spot among Food Network’s cooking show lineup. From there, the rest is history.

Some of De Laurentiis’ Food Network shows include Everyday Italian, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, Food Network Star, Giada in Paradise, and Giada Entertains. She has also had several guest spots on the Today show.

Bobby Flay is leaving Food Network

Some big news about Flay was recently announced. It was revealed that Flay will leave Food Network after 27 years. According to Variety, Flay had been in contract discussions with the Network. His contract was set to expire, but instead of renewing, Food Network reportedly decided to bring negotiations to a close because they could not agree on financial terms, says the publication.

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