The Real Reason Giada De Laurentiis Became A Chef

You know her as the face of The Food Network's Giada at Home, a cookbook author extraordinaire, and one of America's most famous (and most beloved) female chefs. But Giada de Laurentiis wasn't always a culinary superstar. Growing up in a family well-acquainted with the movie business (one of her grandfathers was a film producer while one of her grandmothers was an actress, as is her mother), Giada was encouraged to follow in their footsteps. "I think they hoped I would change my mind about culinary school," she told Time. "They thought that cooking professionally was for men, not women."

However, as we all know, she ended up forgoing her family's wishes and forged her own path into the world of food. What inspired her to pursue that passion? Turns out it was one of her other family members who gave Giada her love of all things culinary. Here's what made her decide to become a chef.

She was inspired by her grandfather

Not everyone in Giada's family was into films — her grandfather, Dino de Laurentiis shared Giada's love of food. When he came to America from Italy in the 1980s, he opened De Laurentiis Food Stores, two gourmet food shops in New York and Los Angeles (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). In a cameo on Google, Giada explains that this was where she first got the itch to pursue a culinary career. "It's where I felt the most empowered growing up," she said. "I loved seeing how excited everyone was about Italian food."

She explained to Time that when she was 12 years old, she would always go there after school and help out her grandfather. She enjoyed sitting in the kitchen watching him serve food and listening to all of the customers discuss what they did and didn't like. Despite the fact that her grandfather only operated the stores for about two years, that was enough time to inspire Giada to explore a future as a chef herself.