Controversial Things Everyone Just Ignores About Giada De Laurentiis

If you grew up during the Food Network boom of the '90s and 2000s, then you are probably familiar with one of the network's first breakout stars: Giada De Laurentiis. The expert on Italian homestyle cooking made simple launched her career with her first show, Everyday Italian, in April of 2003, and quickly became a household name.

Since then, she has gone on to host several more Food Network shows, in addition to being featured as a regular contributor on the Today Show, and making appearances on other Food Network hits like Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay. She is also the author of nine cookbooks, has attached her name to three restaurants, and sells a product line featuring everything from cute biscotti jars to a tea towel printed with her recipe for Chicken Piccata.

However, turns out that no matter how much we've seen of her, there is more to Giada De Laurentiis than many of her fans know. In fact, the celebrity chef has found herself at the center of several scandals, but for some reason, everyone just ignores them. Here are just a few of the controversies that have surfaced (and then quickly faded away) over the course of the original Food Network star's career.

Giada De Laurentiis doesn't actually eat the food she cooks

By now, it's more or less common knowledge that Giada De Laurentiis doesn't eat most of the food that she cooks when she's on camera. Many sources, including Page Six, have reported on the infamous "dump buckets" that she keeps on set with her at all times. What are these buckets for, you might ask? Well, every time the star takes a bite on screen, the cameras immediately stop rolling so she can spit out her food.

While spit-buckets aren't unheard of in Hollywood — imagine filming a food commercial and having to take hundreds of bites of the same heavily-styled, often cold dish — De Laurentiis takes it a step further. "She does not eat at all while filming," an unnamed source told Page Six in 2014. In some cases, she would even enlist her assistants to model their mouths and teeth, taking bites of food on her behalf while the camera zoomed in so close that viewers would be unable to tell who was really doing the eating.

Not only are De Laurentiis' on set practices kind of gross, they also set a bad example — especially for her younger viewers. Although she's said in a Health.com interview that the secret to her size two physique is eating everything in moderation, that appears to be a blatant falsehood.

Giada De Laurentiis said the Mario Batali scandal was not "a huge shock"

Another famous television chef who specializes in Italian cuisine, Mario Batali, was one of the Me Too movement's earliest casualties. Batali was the star of Molto Mario, another Food Network hit series. Batali went on to build an empire for himself that included multiple television shows, a gig as an Iron Chef, books, restaurants, and other endeavors. Throughout most of his career, he stayed chummy with his fellow Food Network celebrities, including Giada De Laurentiis.

In 2017, all of that changed. Eater broke the story on allegations of Batali's sexual misconduct, and the restaurateur's reputation spiraled out beyond repair. He took a step back from his business ventures, and Target even stopped selling his popular line of Italian-style pasta sauces. 

What did his longtime friend and colleague De Laurentiis have to say about the scandal? In an Eater Upsell podcast, People reports, she said that the allegations didn't come "as a huge shock." She went on to explain, "We drink too much and sometimes ... I'm not legitimizing it by any means."

In the same podcast, she said that she had experienced instances of sexism throughout her own career, but never outright condemned her former colleague's conduct. For someone who is a role model for many girls and women to have a sense of Batali's bad behavior and simply call it "sad" is problematic to say the least, but De Luarentiis hasn't been called out for not challenging the behavior.

Celebs have spit out food made by Giada De Laurentiis

Not only does Giada De Laurentiis spit out her own food — other celebs do it too! In a now-infamous segment on Ellen, Variety reports that guest star Nicole Kidman was so grossed out by De Laurentiis' cooking that she literally found it too difficult to swallow.

The segment got off to a rough start, with the chef making fun of the actress' supposed lack of cooking skills while they made rice balls together. But when the time came to taste their food, it was De Laurentiis' cooking skills that were on the chopping block. Kidman offered some criticism of the fennel and clementine focaccia that was made during the segment, saying, "It's a little tough ... I know you're not meant to criticize, but it's a little tough," before spitting out her bite in true De Larentiis style. 

De Laurentiis shot back at Kidman, saying that criticism of her cooking, which often has to sit on set for hours during filming, is the reason why she doesn't do live cooking segments. 

Giada De Laurentiis may have divorced her husband over an affair with John Mayer

Giada De Laurentiis' high-profile divorce from designer Todd Thompson put her in the news on multiple occasions. The reason her relationship made media headlines? Swirling rumors circulating in the entertainment industry that the marriage was ended due to an affair with musician John Mayer.

Although De Laurentiis denied the rumors, the New York Daily News found a number of publications went live with stories that implied there was something going on between the singer and the chef. 

Even though De Laurentiis claims that the split with Todd Thompson was amicable, we can't help but think there were probably some hard feelings if De Laurentiis was, in fact, hooking up with John Mayer in New York City's Gansevoort hotel. Given that the location of her supposed affair is suspiciously close to the location Food Network Studios in Chelsea Market, there could be some truth to the rumor. Still, it's not something that circulates in the current rumor mill very often.

In fact, multiple men are rumored to have been involved with Giada De Laurentiis

Hollywood insiders have long suspected that Giada De Laurentiis' affairs might not have started and ended with John Mayer. In fact, many people have questioned the nature of her longtime intimate friendship with yet another male Food Network celebrity — Bobby Flay. The two have been frequently seen together looking cozy in public, and it's not uncommon for coworkers to end up crushing on one another. The website Showbiz Cheat Sheet even has a roundup of some of their most "playful" (read: romantic) Instagram interactions between the pair. More than outlet has implied that things might be heating up between the two — and not just in the kitchen.

Bobby Flay isn't the only famous coworker De Laurentiis is rumored to have romanced, either. According to celebrity news site Nicki Swift, there have also been speculations that De Laurentiis was romantically involved with former Today anchor Matt Lauer, citing a cozy-looking dinner meeting in 2013, when Giada and former husband Todd Thompson were still married. But just as quickly as those rumors got started, they seem to have disappeared. Either De Laurentiis has some very talented PR staff, or no one really cares that much about her private affairs. 

Paula Deen's fans resent Giada De Laurentiis

The Daily Meal reports that after the Food Network decided to end its relationship with Paula Deen, they replaced her show's time slots with episodes of Giada De Laurentiis' shows. In case you missed it, Deen was canceled back in 2013, after repeated instances of racism and workplace discrimination were brought to light. Although Paula Deen has repeatedly denied the allegations, she did admit to using a racial slur. Reuters reports that brands from Food Network to Walmart were planning to stop promoting her work. 

Although most viewers were happy with the network's decision to part ways with the former TV queen of Southern cuisine, Deen's loyal fans thought it was De Laurentiis' responsibility to stand up for her former co-worker. Instead, the celebrity chef largely stayed silent on the matter, telling Access Hollywood hosts Billy Bush and Kate Hoover that she didn't have anything to do with the Food Network scheduling change.

Despite the big amount of controversy it caused in the moment, it's a largely ignored part of the Paula Deen saga these days. 

Giada De Laurentiis once feuded with longtime friend Bobby Flay

In yet another case of bad role model behavior, it turns out that Giada De Laurentiis is a sore loser, at least every now and then. Even though she and fellow chef Bobby Flay have been friends since the early stages of both of their careers, De Laurentiis was so upset after the pair lost a team cooking competition that she literally refused to speak with him after the battle. 

In a 2006 Iron Chef America battle, De Laurentiis teamed up Flay to battle another TV power duo, Rachel Ray and Mario Batali (before he was canceled). Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay ended up on the losing side, and afterwards De Laurentiis refused to speak to Flay for around eight months, according to People

The reason for the extra long silent treatment? It wasn't just that Giada was upset that they lost the battle, it was that Bobby Flay had the audacity to laugh it off and take it in stride. "He didn't think it was any big deal that we lost. I did not talk to him for eight months' eight months! I did not. Nothing. Silence," she told a podcast host. 

Seems like displaying such bad sportsmanship is something that would stick with you for a while, but De Laurentiis' fans seem to have all but forgotten it. 

Giada De Laurentiis' revealing outfits are prone to wardrobe malfunctions

Giada De Laurentiis is known just as much for her petite, curvy figure and often revealing outfits as she is for her homestyle Italian recipes. One might wonder why a person would wear only low-cut dresses in the kitchen, but to each their own! However, the risqué nature of her preferred style of clothing has led to some wardrobe malfunctions, like the one captured by the Daily Mail during a family swim in Miami, Florida. During a jaunt in the ocean, the plunging neckline of her one-piece bathing suit plunged just a little too far, and she found herself revealing even more than she intended. Somehow, however, that's a trip to the ocean that did not go down in the history books.

Although her style has evolved over the years and now skews a little more on the demure side, many of Giada's most memorable outfits feature extremely low necklines and cutouts that leave little to the imagination. While we're all about letting women wear whatever they want, it's always a good idea for celebs to make sure their sticky tape is in place whenever they're going to be on camera in something skimpy. 

Giada De Laurentiis has been accused of cultural appropriation for recipes like Filipino Chicken Adobo.

Recently, many white chefs and food personalities have come under fire for cultural appropriation. Although she hasn't made headlines for appropriating recipes and ingredients from other cultures, Giada De Laurentiis hasn't fully escaped the criticism either. 

Fillipina food blogger Saralynn Pablo was shocked when a friend called, telling her to tune in to the latest episode of Giada at Home, where the chef was making, of all things, Filipino Chicken Adobo as part of a spread titled "The Big Game."

As the episode was ostensibly about the kinds of finger food typically associated with watching sports at home, Pablo wonders why the Italian host chose a saucy dish that's practically impossible to eat with your hands.

"How about serving lumpia, either fried or fresh? Those are Filipino finger foods that actually make sense for serving at the big game," the blogger wrote. She then went on to say that not only did De Laurentiis use incorrect ingredients and serve the main dish without rice as it's intended, she didn't even give any background to the dish, like she does when preparing Italian food. 

"Give the proper historical and contemporary context. Don't exoticize, fetishize. Or just don't go there at all," the blogger wrote. Though she had a point, this isn't an issue that's been widely pointed out like with other chefs.

Giada De Laurentiis is not particularly warm towards her fans

Although Giada De Laurentiis has many, many fans, it seems like the celebrity... doesn't really like them. In fact, The New York Daily News reported that she wishes she could say no to touchy-touchy fans. 

Dealing with overly enthusiastic fans is part and parcel with being a celebrity. It's perfectly reasonable not to want to be constantly hugged by strangers (we can't blame her for that one), but the thing is, she could just be up-front with her admirers. Respecting personal boundaries is 100 percent a thing, like Food & Wine states in their response, "Everybody Just Stop Touching Giada De Laurentiis OK?" Instead, she fakes a smile and deals with it in the moment, then lets the press in on her true feelings.

Now more than ever, fans want to follow celebrities and influencers who have a strong sense of authenticity. We would love it if De Laurentiis could get in on the trend, and we're guessing the rest of her fans would, too.

Giada De Laurentiis' typical breakfast is downright strange

Back to the chef's eating habits, because when you're an international food personality, you really are what you eat. We already know that Giada De Laurentiis spits out most of her food, so what does she actually consume when the cameras aren't rolling? Even though the answer is fairly odd, it's not something that gets as much attention as it deserves.

According to Delish, she starts every day with a bowl of brown rice, topped with olive oil and salt. While we can get behind a bowl of whole grains for breakfast, when a bowl of more or less plain rice is followed up by salad and the occasional Triscuit, De Laurentiis' diet starts to sound less like a fulfilling day of eating and more like deprivation. The celebrity chef claims that one of her favorite lunchtime eats is a Triscuit topped with provolone, mortadella, and peppers as a riff on a muffuletta sandwich. As anyone who has actually eaten a muffuletta can tell you, the two things are not the same. 

Giada De Laurentiis' line of cookware isn't exactly safe for use

After everything we've learned about the Food Network star so far, we can at least rely on the fact that her expertise as a chef and television host can provide us with an awesome at-home cookware line, right? If we buy Giada De Laurentiis' cookware, we'll have picture-perfect lasagnas, drool-inducing Italian desserts, and luscious, colorful salads, right? Not so much.

Following at least 39 unique reports of dangerous breakage during regular use, the ceramic lasagna pan that was sold both individually and as part of a six-piece set for the "Giada de Laurentiis for Target" line, Target was forced to recall the product in 2013, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Perhaps the fault lies with the fact that since De Laurentiis doesn't actually seem to eat lasagna, it stands to reason that she might not cook it at home very often. It doesn't seem to have effected the sales of her other products, though.