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Giada De Laurentiis

Giada Pamela De Laurentiis (born August 22, 1970) is an Italian American chef, writer, television personality, and the current host of the Food Network programs Everyday Italian, Behind the Bash, Giada's Weekend Getaways, Giada in Paradise, and most recently, Giada at Home. She also appears regularly as a contributor and guest co-host on NBC's Today. De Laurentiis is the founder of the catering business GDL Foods.

Personal life

De Laurentiis was born Giada Pamela De Benedetti in Rome, Italy, the eldest child of actress Veronica De Laurentiis and her first husband, actor-producer Alex De Benedetti, who was a close associate of his wife's father, the film producer Dino De Laurentiis. Her parents were married in February 1970, just months before her birth. After their parents' divorce, De Laurentiis and her siblings moved to Southern California, where Giada and her siblings took their mother's surname.

Her grandparents are producer Dino De Laurentiis and Italian film star Silvana Mangano. Her siblings include sister Eloisa, a makeup artist, and brothers Dino Alexander, a Hollywood film editor, and Igor. Her stepfather is producer Ivan Kavalsky.

De Laurentiis graduated from Marymount High School and holds a bachelor's degree in social anthropology from UCLA (1996).

In 2003, she married Todd Thompson, a fashion designer for Anthropologie. The two had been dating since 1991. The couple's first child, Jade Marie De Laurentiis Thompson, was born on March 29, 2008.

De Laurentiis was named number 96 on AskMen.com's list of "The Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2008." De Laurentiis, dubbed as "a petite powerhouse" by Town & Country magazine, stands "just under five foot two."

Career

De Laurentiis, a self-proclaimed chocoholic, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France with aspirations of becoming a pastry chef. After returning to the United States, she became a professional chef working in several Los Angeles restaurants, notably the Wolfgang Puck-owned Spago. She later worked as a food stylist, and was contacted by Food Network after styling a piece in Food & Wine Magazine in 2002.

Her cooking program, Everyday Italian, has been broadcast on Food Network since 2003. On her Chefography (a Food Network biography program), she admitted that she never wanted to be in her "family business" of show business. She felt very uncomfortable in front of the camera when she first began hosting Everyday Italian, but has since become more relaxed and open on air. When the program first aired, Food Network received emails accusing the network of hiring a model or actress pretending to cook instead of a real chef.

De Laurentiis began hosting Behind the Bash in October 2006. The program examines the catering process behind big event extravaganzas such as the Grammy Awards. In January 2007, a third De Laurentiis-hosted show, Giada's Weekend Getaways, debuted on Food Network. On this show, De Laurentiis travels to a featured locale (such as Seattle, South Beach, San Francisco, Napa and Jackson Hole, Wyoming) and visits her favorite local culinary destinations.

On a November 2006 episode of Iron Chef America, De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay competed against, and were defeated by, Rachael Ray and Mario Batali.

In 2007, De Laurentiis appeared as a presenter on the inaugural Food Network Awards. In June 2007, she hosted a two-part Food Network special entitled Giada in Paradise, featuring the two locales of Santorini, Greece and Capri, Italy. De Laurentiis also made several appearances as a guest judge on the third season of The Next Food Network Star, which aired in 2007. Beginning in 2008, De Laurentiis will star in a new Food Network program entitled Giada at Home.

De Laurentiis is a spokesperson for the pasta manufacturer Barilla.

Publications

In 2005, De Laurentiis published her first cookbook, Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes. A second cookbook, Giada's Family Dinners, was released on April 4, 2006. Her next cookbook, Everyday Pasta, was released on April 3, 2007. Her latest cookbook, Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites, was released on September 30, 2008.

References

Further reading

External links

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