Of All Giada De Laurentiis' Television Appearances, This Was The Most Awkward

Giada De Laurentiis is a seasoned television celebrity with dozens of appearances and credits to her name. The Food Network celebrity is best known for her show "Everyday Italian," where for 12 seasons, she showed viewers how to recreate the dishes she grew up with at home. De Laurentiis, the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, grew up in Italy, spending time at her grandfather's restaurant. After graduating from the University of California Los Angeles, she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to pursue a professional culinary career. She was "discovered" by Food Network in 2002 after a network executive read an article about her family in Food & Wine magazine, according to Food Network's biography of the talent. 

De Laurentiis has been on numerous TV shows and is a frequent contributor on the "Today Show" (via IMDb). The celebrity chef, known for her culinary prowess and ease with the camera, is personable and professional on-screen. However, there was one time when a particular guest segment on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" turned more than a little awkward.

Ellen DeGeneres, Nicole Kidman, and Giada De Laurentiis attempt to make arancini

In 2017, Giada De Laurentiis appeared on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (via YouTube). She was joined by film star Nicole Kidman and host Ellen DeGeneres in a cooking segment. The celebrity chef was supposed to show the two A-listers how to make arancini, an Italian dish of breaded and fried risotto balls, along with a side of focaccia bread. The culinary demonstration quickly turns into a comedy of errors as DeGeneres could not even roll a ball of risotto in her hands. Her risotto crumbled into little bits, prompting De Laurentiis to point out, "Ellen, that looks like dog food!" De Laurentiis wasn't too pleased with Kidman's early efforts, either, asking, "Nicole, have you ever made meatballs or anything?" Eventually, however, she awarded Kidman a pretty backhanded compliment: "The woman who can't cook makes the perfect ball!"

As the arancini-making progressed, things went from bad to worse, with De Laurentiis announcing, "Now Ellen's balls have fallen apart!" (Cue the studio audience's ribald laughter.) She then complained: "It's just making a mess!" (More laughter.) Shortly thereafter, the trio abandoned both Degeneres's and Kidman's attempted arancini and settled for snacking on the pre-cooked samples instead. With a brisk "Let's move on," De Laurentiis then attempted to salvage the rest of the cooking segment. Sadly, by that point, it was already past redemption.

The focaccia didn't turn out any better

The latter part of Giada De Laurentiis' celebrity cooking lesson involved making focaccia. Simple enough, you'd think, but no. As Nicole Kidman fiddled with the dough, Ellen DeGeneres fed De Laurentiis the questions that would allow her to plug her latest projects in time-honored talk show host style. This left her a bit out of the loop when it came to the actual cooking, though, and it almost seemed as if Kidman was a wee bit annoyed by having to do so much of the focaccia-making herself. She was also less than pleased to have De Laurentiis sniping at her to use more olive oil and calling her "honey."

The focaccia itself was not a success. When Kidman bit into the finished sample, she promptly spat it out again, noting in an understated way, "It's a little tough." Add to the fact that the producer is seen laughing as he tries to get the trio to speed up the segment, and you've got six minutes of awkward television.

Was there tension between Nicole Kidman and Giada De Laurentiis?

The tension between Nicole Kidman and Giada De Laurentiis during this segment was noted by several websites. Nicki Swift reported that the cooking lesson may have actually started a feud between the two women. W Magazine didn't go quite that far, but they did dub Kidman the "Australian queen of the side-eye" for the looks she gave De Laurentiis while the two were cooking together.

Harper's Bazaar pointed out the fact that all of Kidman's side-eyeing was justified in light of De Laurentiis and DeGeneres leaning so heavily into the "ball" jokes (audience approval notwithstanding), but then they went all fangirl by calling Kidman's reaction "a truly iconic Oscar-worthy performance." Oscar-worthy? We're not so sure about that, but Kidman definitely has a future in sitcoms if she wants one. It's likely, however, that the Food Network won't be blowing up her phone any time soon, but we're all in if Netflix books her to be a guest on an episode of "Cooking With Paris."

De Laurentiis did somewhat better the second time around

A year after the notorious Arancini Incident, Giada De Laurentiis returned to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in what People called an act of redemption. (This second time around, Nicole Kidman was not along for the ride.) De Laurentiis started out by making a cocktail for Ellen DeGeneres, telling the show's host, "I figured if we got you drunk enough, you wouldn't know the difference and you would just love everything." She then made avocado-bean dip, but this was a bit of an iffy proposition as she over-salted the dish and then managed to squirt lemon juice onto the host's shirt. At least she didn't hit her in the eye with the lemon, though, so that perhaps counts as a partial win.

At long last, DeGeneres and De Laurentiis did have some success with pizza making after tossing some dough around, which seemed to lighten the mood. De Laurentiis even admitted, "I wish Nicole were here," although we suspect she was secretly rather relieved by the Australian's absence.