How Giada DeLaurentiis Was Discovered For Everyday Italian

From all appearances, be it on her TV shows, the pages of her books, or on social media, Giada De Laurentiis was born to cook and entertain people. The entertainment business is in her blood, after all: Her maternal grandfather was the renowned movie producer Dino De Laurentiis; her grandmother, Silvana Mangano, was a movie star in Italy; her mother, Veronica De Laurentiis, is an actor and author; and her father, Alex De Beneditti, is an actor and producer (via The Daily Meal).

The celebrity chef spent a lot of time in the kitchen growing up, but a culinary career wasn't her original choice, per her Food Network bio. Her path to superstardom in food began after she earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology — yes, anthropology — from the University of California, Los Angeles. Following graduation, she enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she studied both food and pastry. "The truth is I had a passion for food and I always did,” De Laurentiis told graduates of the UCLA School of Anthropology when she served as their commencement speaker in 2009 (via YouTube).

That passion propelled her to restaurants like Spago in Los Angeles, where she worked with the legendary Wolfgang Puck and eventually to Food Network shows like "Everyday Italian.” But you could say she slipped in from behind the scenes or through the back door.

Giada De Laurentiis: from behind the scenes to before the cameras on Everyday Italian

Giada De Laurentiis has said her shot at hosting a Food Network show and her subsequent rise to fame on "Everyday Italian” happened "purely accidentally” (via Food & Wine). After Le Cordon Bleu, she gravitated to restaurants, catering, and eventually food styling.

Her adoring fans can thank Food & Wine for bringing De Laurentiis to the attention of Food Network executives. She did a Thanksgiving food styling gig for the magazine and later was featured in a magazine spread on the De Laurentiis family and its food traditions, which included recipes. The article caught the eye of a Food Network executive, who wanted to introduce viewers to a new show focusing on Italian food and cooking.

He contacted De Laurentiis and asked if she had any experience in front of the cameras. She put together a demo tape, and the first episodes of "Everyday Italian” aired nine months later. She has called the first season "horrible” (via Bon Appétit), but fans ate it up. And the rest is history.

"I really thought I'd become a food stylist and then went in a completely different direction,” De Laurentiis ultimately told Food & Wine.