Giada De Laurentiis' Best Food Network Moments

Food network star Giada De Laurentiis is a divisive personality — some people love her, some people love to hate her. But no matter where you fall, it's undeniable that De Laurentiis made a huge name for herself over 20 years on the Food Network. She's hosted more than numerous shows, many of them starting with her name, like "Giada On The Beach," "Giada In Italy," "Giada Entertains," and "Giada at Home." It all started in the early 2000s when De Laurentiis and her family were featured in Food & Wine. A Food Network executive read the article and asked De Laurentiis if she'd be interested in doing a cooking show. Thus, her first show "Everyday Italian" started airing in 2003. On the show, the Italian-born and -raised chef shared updates to old family recipes and made healthy Italian food approachable for at-home cooks.

She seems to have closed this chapter of her life though, and Food Network reign has come to an end. In February of 2023, De Laurentiis signed a deal with Amazon Studios and left the Food Network, though she still appears in reruns of her shows and the network says she'll "always have an open seat." In honor of her many years teaching us how to cook and entertain, we're taking a look at some of the best Giada De Laurentiis moments.

Giada in Italy

De Laurentiis has hosted or judged so many cooking shows that we even published a ranking of her shows in 2021. Undoubtedly top of the line is "Giada in Italy." This is where we really see De Laurentiis in her element, with family and friends and the beautiful Italian countryside. "Giada in Italy" aired for three seasons and showcases the chef cooking, eating, and entertaining in Italian cities from Florence to Positano.

What makes Giada in Italy so great is the glimpse into Italian living the audience gets. Watchers can live vicariously through De Laurentiis and her family with snippets like rifling through her grandmother's recipe book, cooking for her uncle's soccer team, hosting a cocktail party on the deck of her villa, wandering through an Italian market, and learning how to make cannolis. Giada in Italy is also where the audience gets to spend time with some of the favorite guests on De Laurentiis's shows, like her always-hilarious Aunt Raffy.

Her friendship with Bobby Flay

Even if you hardly know who Giada De Laurentiis is, you probably know about her friendship with Food Network chef Bobby Flay. The two met in the early 2000s, around the same time that De Laurentiis joined the Food Network, several years after Flay's debut, and became fast friends. They're frequently seen out together, and interacting on social media. As Mashed previously said on Youtube, Bobby and Giada's friendship took a hit early on when they were paired together on "Iron Chef" and lost to Mario Batali and Rachel Ray. De Laurentiis said that she took the competition very seriously and felt that Flay didn't give his best. They stopped speaking for nearly a year after that, but lucky for Food Network fans, they made up. In the following years, they've done several fun and interesting collaborations like judging "Food Network Star" and "Bobby and Giada in Italy." 

Because of their close friendship, relationship rumors have been following De Laurentiis and Flay for years, sparked anew when photos surfaced of De Laurentiis and Flay at a party together days before she announced her divorce. Of course, both stars have always denied the rumors. On "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," De Laurentiis said that she and Flay are good friends who have worked together for many years, "but I don't think that's ever going to happen."

Watching her be a mom

Avid Food Network fans have watched De Laurentiis' daughter, Jade, grow up on camera. Jade has been appearing on her mom's shows since she was a toddler and of 2023, is now 15 years old. Some episodes have even been centered on Jade, like in Season 6 of "Giada at Home" when De Laurentiis made a kid-friendly menu for a sleepover party: recipes included crispy chicken tenders with Piccata sauce, Pizza di Rotelle and strawberry hot chocolate with chocolate pretzel dippers.

All along, De Laurentiis has shared behind-the-scenes photos and images of everyday life with Jade on her Instagram, as well. The Food Network stars' social media is full of cute images of Jade, like the two of them holding a huge tray of bacon, painting macarons, and tasting pasta, with adorable captions like "Best moments of my life are w/this little lady."

The day she gifted us with lemon spaghetti

There are lots of great recipes from De Laurentiis' many shows, but one that has really stood the test of time is her lemon spaghetti. In a Season 3 episode called Quick Italian Dishes, De Laurentiis cooks a lemon spaghetti that would become a favorite recipe to this day. As De Laurentiis writes on her blog, Giadzy, this is one of the easiest pasta dishes you can make and works as both a light meal or a bright, zesty side dish.

Lemon spaghetti was inspired by a dish she ate with her Aunt Raffy in Capri. She writes, "What I couldn't have anticipated was that the dish that would completely change my life on that trip was decidedly more earthbound [than seafood]." She and Raffy went to a restaurant built on a lemon grove, and sat outside among the lemon trees. Although the dish she ate that day was simple, De Laurentiis says she spent months experimenting to get the proportions just right. Luckily for the audience, she did the legwork. Now, anyone can make lemon spaghetti with just a few simple ingredients like olive oil, Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, and fresh basil.

Every time she pronounces an Italian pasta

Although De Laurentiis was born in Rome and spent her early years in Italy, she has no trace of an Italian accent ... unless she's talking about food. Late night talk show hosts like Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon have poked fun at De Laurentiis for how she says Italian words, especially pastas like spaghetti, which she says more like "spah-geh-tee."

Her insistence on properly pronouncing the names of Italian pastas and other food words is so famous, she's been invited to teach pronunciation on shows like "Ellen" and the "Today" show (for which she frequently hosts food segments). She even has an Italian Glossary on the Food Network.

For those who are interested, here are a few of the pastas you've probably been pronouncing wrong, according to De Laurentiis:

  • Rigatoni (ree-gah-TOH-neh)

  • Risotto (ree-ZOHT-oh)

  • Tortellini (tohr-teh-LEE-neh)

  • Ravioli (rah-VEEOH-lee)

Taking evidence from Reddit threads, De Laurentiis's pronunciation of Italian words is one of the more polarizing things about her. You'll find people who hate it — "Can't stand her and the pronunciations! Drives me crazy! — and people who are quick to defend her — "You are literally attacking a Roman for pronouncing an Italian word in her native dialect." Although De Laurentiis has moved from the Food Network to Amazon, this debate is sure to rage on.

The way she can bridge seasons

As any good chef should, De Laurentiis cares deeply about the seasonality of her recipes. All of her shows are great at pointing out how seasonable the ingredients she's using are, even when an episode airs in the weird space between seasons. She seems to be particularly good at sharing recipes that move her audience from the heavy dishes of winter to the lighter, brighter dishes of spring.

In an episode that The Kitchn declared "the best episode of Giada's Everyday Italian" in 2018, she shares recipes like asparagus carbonara, which makes a play on the classic, but very heavy Italian pasta dish with perfectly-blanched asparagus and a fried egg. The episode also takes advantage of late winter citrus like oranges and limes for sidecar martinis.

Beyond that episode, De Laurentiis has given her audience many other dishes to transition to spring. The Food Network lists 11 recipes in a post, including smokey candied carrots with a walnut gremolata, pea pesto crostini, and pancetta-wrapped pork roast.

Whenever she branches out of Italian fare

De Laurentiis has built her career on her Italian heritage, but that doesn't mean she can only cook Italian food. While rare, De Laurentiis sometimes branches out into other cuisines, especially on her show "Giada Entertains." Through Food Network, fans of De Laurentiss can find recipes like baby back ribs with spicy peach bbq sauce, tamari-spiced nuts, ginger-soy chicken wings, a spiked root beer float bar, and chocolate cookie cheesecake dip.

One viewer on Reddit was pleasantly surprised with De Laurentiis's spicy pulled pork taco recipe. "My wife saw it on Giada De Laurentiis' show. Not exactly someone who I would think of first when I want to make pork tacos..." they wrote. "But holy hell these things were freaking awesome!" The fan said they've used the recipe a half-dozen more times and they love it so much they could drink the pork juice with a straw.

Meeting her extended Italian family

Aside from her daughter, Jade, De Laurentiis has featured many of her family members on her shows. In fact, many of her shows seem tailor made to shine on the celeb chef's extended family, such as "Giada at Home," "Giada Entertains," and "Giada in Italy." And it's no wonder why her family does so well on camera — De Laurentiis is the granddaughter of Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who produced iconic films like "King Kong" and "War and Peace" after moving to the United States. Both of her parents, mom Veronica and dad Alex De Benedetti, also worked as actors.

But it's Aunt Raffy who really shines. Her quick wit and endless kitchen tips have earned Raffy her own cult following. As Mashed previously reported, Aunt Raffy had her own career in film, starting as an actress when she was 14. It's Aunt Raffy we have to thank for De Laurentiis's handle on Italian culture — she made sure her niece knew Italian culture and continues to pass family traditions on.

Her Party in the Kitchen episode teaches the audience how to get everyone involved in a dinner party

"Giada Entertains" is all about cooking for guests, but for the most part, De Laurentiis is cooking alone. For viewers who want to host a bit more stress-free dinner party, though, De Laurentiis dedicated an episode to getting everyone involved. While De Laurentiis' fans mainly see her cooking solo, "Party in the Kitchen" invites De Laurentiis' friends into her kitchen to help her finish off her dinner party foods. She gets the longer-cooking things like pulled pork started on her own, but puts her friends to work mixing a strawberry basil agua fresca and frying churros, which need to be eaten right out of the fryer, anyway. That gives the audience a tip as well — if you want to serve something fried at a dinner party, it's best to get other hands involved.

De Laurentiis has shared many other tips for home cooks over the years, like cooking spaghetti in a tall pot to avoid raw pasta sticking out of the water and the right pan to get a perfectly-seared steak at home (always use cast iron!).

Her Thanksgiving episode showed the audience that even TV pros get stressed in the kitchen

Watching celebrity chefs cook can give the impression that you, too, can have a stress-free kitchen if only you knew enough about food. But De Laurentiis has shared relatable moments with her viewers so they can see that even classically-trained chefs can have a bad or stressful day of cooking. This is particularly relevant for the most stressful food-related holiday of the year: Thanksgiving.

Over the years, De Laurentiis has shared stories of her own Thanksgiving mishaps. There was the time she was working as a private chef right out of school and tripped over her clients' family dog, sending their Thanksgiving turkey flying. The dog got more turkey than anyone else that day. There was also the time she sliced into her finger while carving a turkey on a live Thanksgiving episode on the Food Network. And she has more typical holiday stress, too. De Laurentiis said the best way she's learned to avoid stress when hosting the Thanksgiving meal is to delegate who cooks what.

As Mashed previously reported, De Laurentiis assigns certain dishes to her family, which not only reduces some of the stress but helps everyone feel like a part of the day. So, she hands out recipes like her chocolate almond cheesecake to her sister, who she knows is a strong baker. Another thing she likes to delegate is the dishes, which according to De Laurentiis, is the worst part about cooking.