The Untold Truth Of Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian

Giada De Laurentiis made her debut on The Food Network with her show titled "Everyday Italian." The Italian chef, food writer, and television personality has made her way with several shows highlighting her roots in Rome and bubbly personality, but "Everyday Italian" was the big beginning. To fully appreciate the influence she's had on The Food Network, the steps that brought her to this career path, and her inspiration to the world of food, it's important to focus on where she started. 

The show had over 160 episodes aired, all shot on location in Malibu, and while food was the main component of "Everyday Italian," another large aspect was sharing De Laurentiis's deep background and family stories. The show may have begun filming in the early 2000s, but the positive energy from De Laurentiis and the healthy Italian recipes are just as relevant as ever today. Let's unpack Giada De Laurentiis's popular show "Everyday Italian." 

Giada De Laurentiis was nervous and originally turned down Food Network's offer

As she discussed with Bon Appétit, Giada De Laurentiis referred to Season 1 of "Everyday Italian" as "horrible" and thought that being alone in front of the camera felt very strange. She described how she felt at first, saying, "I was so, so goddamn nervous because I had never been in front of the camera alone ... 'I was like, who am I talking to? Who is this?'" She had never been on television before and hadn't been seeking out this job opportunity, so it's more than understandable that she was a bundle of nerves. The whole adventure of starting "Everyday Italian" unraveled very quickly. The first episode premiered in April of 2003, and shortly after that the viewers quickly fell madly in love with her personality and her food. In the end, we could see that her nerves subsided after a few episodes under her belt.

The Everyday Italian recipes were based off of the recipes she grew up eating in Rome

A lot of De Laurentiis's cooking influence stems from being born in Rome and that style of cooking, those ingredients, and her familial recipes. "Everyday Italian," in particular, took those recipes and highlighted them in an updated way. Some of these dishes include tagliatelle with smashed peas, ricotta, and sausage, marinated zucchini and summer squash, sea bass alla fiorentina, and arancini di riso. 

According to Bon Appétit, there are six pantry staples from her Italian roots that Giada would not be able to survive without: Lucini extra-virgin olive oil, Calabrian chili paste, Amore anchovy paste, Mutti canned cherry tomatoes, Setaro dried pasta, and Castelvetrano olives. Naturally, her pantry resembles a grocery store in Italy with ingredients that enhance so many of her dishes. Needless to say, soon we'll be stocking all of these ingredients in our pantries, too. 

The focus of Everyday Italian was transforming Italian staples into healthier options for Giada's viewers

On Giada De Laurentiis's personal website, she wrote that the focus of the show, "Everyday Italian," was to utilize the same ingredients she grew up eating with her family, and make them in a healthier, fresher preparation. She features fresh ingredients with recipes that are packed with protein and vegetables, while still keeping the feeling of Rome's flavors alive. 

Some of her featured protein-packed recipes include chicken chili, herbed turkey caesar salad, and Tuscan-style beef ribeye. She also has vegan-friendly dishes featured, to both accommodate viewers and include a high quantity of vegetables, like green fried rice, vegan artichoke arancini, millet tabbouleh salad, and rice-stuffed tomatoes. Many of her pasta recipes include bright and vibrant colors, as if we're getting ready to eat the rainbow, and allow the audience to enjoy the wonders of experiencing her Italian roots with a healthier flare. 

Giada was discovered for Everyday Italian through a thanksgiving shoot with Food & Wine, and nine months later the show was live

In an interview with Food & Wine, she spoke about how she was food styling for a Thanksgiving shoot and someone at the magazine "asked to do a story on my family and their food-lunch with the De Laurentiis family." After a Food Network executive read the article, they noticed all of the amazing Italian recipes and called De Laurentiis to ask about doing a show. 

She wasn't in the television business but her family had a background in the movie business, and nine months after that interaction the hit show "Everyday Italian" aired in 2003. Giada De Laurentiis told Food & Wine that she really thought she would "become a food stylist and then went in a completely different direction." She put together a demo as requested by The Food Network, and the way the show came together was very organic, and in her own words, it was "purely" an accident (via Food & Wine).

One of Giada's goals on the show was to make recipes with accessible ingredients that still felt authentic, fresh, and clean

Although the recipes that De Laurentiis produced for "Everyday Italian" were authentic and close to her roots, one of her goals aside from making healthier options was to use accessible ingredients, to make it realistic for people to try to make her recipes. In her interview with Food & Wine, she mentioned that "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." After all, not everyone has access to imported Italian olives in their local grocery store. 

Other pantry staples that she always has around, like extra-virgin olive oil, cross over through many of her recipes, and her most beloved ingredients can be used in many different ways. She even talks about using her favorite olive oil on almost everything, even her morning oatmeal

One of the first recipes she shared on Everyday Italian still turns heads, and it's one of the simplest recipes in her repertoire

A recipe that people still talk to Giada De Laurentiis about is her Lemon Spaghetti, which she made in the early days of "Everyday Italian." The pasta dish is super simple, with just spaghetti, lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. According to De Laurentiis in her interview with Food & Wine, the best thing about this dish is how versatile it is, since you can eat it hot or cold, with chicken on top, or even as a side dish to something like a roast. 

Its popularity grew so quickly because of how simple yet delicious it is. She even spilled the trick she keeps up her sleeve, which is to save the water that you cook the pasta in, and add some to the sauce. This trick allows for the sauce to come together easily and adds a punch of flavor. Thank you, Giada! We'll be using that in our Italian cooking endeavors.

While she thought the first season of the show was horrible, it still got renewed for 11 more seasons

According to Bon Appétit, De Laurentiis described her first season of "Everyday Italian" as "horrible." She was nervous that she'd embarrass her family, but rather than that the show became a hit, and she was renewed for 11 more seasons of Italian cooking, homestyle recipes, and her lively, bubbly personality. Even after a TV disaster on The Today Show, she stuck with her new television career and made a huge name for herself. 

Back in her early days of "Everyday Italian," she was a guest on a live segment of the NBC morning show and a food stylist had seared a piece of chicken as a prop. The show host came out for the segment, ate the chicken, and realized it was completely raw on the inside. After the cameras followed the host to show him spitting the food out, Giada said "I wanted to crawl into the back and cry. He said to me, 'The pesto is really good, but I think you're trying to poison me with raw chicken.' I was so humiliated. Five million people watch that show" (via Food & Wine).

In 2008 she earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host, and in 2020 she received the Outstanding Culinary Host award

Giada De Laurentiis has a major following for her Food Network shows, and that started with "Everyday Italian." In 2008, just five years following the premiere of her show, she won the daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host. For many years following that she was nominated for multiple Emmys, like the Outstanding Culinary Host award and the Outstanding Culinary Program award. The awards didn't stop with "Everday Italian," though. 

In 2020, she won another Emmy for Outstanding Culinary Series for her recent show, "Giada Entertains." In 2008, the show "Everyday Italian" also won an award for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle Show. Clearly, through all of these nominations and awards, Giada De Laurentiis has become much more than just a chef to people, but rather truly a famous TV food personality and someone to constantly watch. 

The show's most popular recipes include Gianduja Bars, Raspberry Tiramisu, Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs, and Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust

Among the many delicious recipes featured on "Everyday Italian," the Gianduja Bars, Raspberry Tiramisu, Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs, and Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust are some of the bigger fan favorites that have been highlighted over the years. These featured recipes show the versatility of De Laurentiis' cooking range, with everyday snack bars, main dishes, and desserts. 

The dishes are also incredibly representative of her cooking style, using a range of both classic and simple ingredients and authentic Italian ingredients. For all of the recipes prepared on "Everyday Italian," the show's page on The Food Network website holds a wide collection of the most popular and the most recent recipes. The culinary TV star even has recipes for unique drinks, like one of her other popular items, the ricotta cappuccino. 

Her debut on the show opened the doors for the rest of her television career, including her culinary adventures with Bobby Flay, the beginning of her flow of shows and cookbooks, and her cleansing wellness meal plan

In an interview with La Cucina Italiana, Giada De Laurentiis disclosed how her culinary television career path branched out following the premier of "Everyday Italian" in 2003. After the show aired, so many opportunities came her way including an Italian adventure with fellow Food Network chef and television personality, Bobby Flay. Their collaborative program, "Bobby and Giada in Italy," was released in January of 2021 and dove into the history and food culture of Rome and Tuscany, and recipes that are cherished staples in Italian cooking. She also wrote an "Everyday Italian" cookbook, and following that published many cookbooks, such as "Giada at Home," "Giada's Italy," "Weeknight's with Giada," and "Eat Better Feel Better."

This television show brought deep Roman Italian roots to The Food Network and established a food-centered TV career for Giada De Laurentiis. Not only has she become a Food Network icon throughout the last decade, but she's branched out to create a brand that is all her own.