Giada De Laurentiis Elevates Authentic Italian Food From Her Kitchen To Yours - Exclusive Interview

For the last two decades, Giada De Laurentiis has arguably been the face of fun, fresh, accessible Italian food. As one of the earliest stars on Food Network, the chef has made a name for herself elevating the simple, soulful, authentic recipes she grew up eating in Italy, adding her own culinary flare on shows like "Everyday Italian," "Giada Entertains," "Giada in Italy," and several others. She's also written several cookbooks and owns one of the coolest restaurant destinations in Las Vegas. And when she's not in her kitchen, in front of the camera, or working in her restaurant, you can often catch her traveling and tasting her way through Italy, sharing the highlights on social media.

Tasting Table caught up with the chef and restaurateur recently to hear all about the latest in her busy world. De Laurentiis also shared some of her Italian food favorites and tips for elevating your own Italian dishes at home, from brunch to appetizers to pasta and more.

Giada De Laurentiis has cemented her place in the Las Vegas culinary lexicon

Your first Las Vegas restaurant, Giada, is approaching its 10-year anniversary. It's a Vegas institution at this point. Did you anticipate that this restaurant would see this kind of success when you first opened the doors? What do you attribute that to?

Firstly, I have the most amazing team, many of which have been with me all 10 years. The location, the warmth, the food, and the hospitality are amazing as well. Caesars has been a great partner for me and has helped so much along the way.

Were you friends with Martha Stewart before her debut in Vegas? Have you had the chance to hang out with her or your other fellow neighbor, Lisa Vanderpump?

Martha Stewart and Lisa Vanderpump are both great, and I have spent time with both of them. We are all part of the Caesars family.

Roughly a quarter million servings of your famous (and delicious!) lemon spaghetti have been dished up since Giada first opened. What makes this dish so craveable?

It's light, but it's decadent and makes you feel like you've been transported to the Amalfi coast in July. Consistency is important, and the team executes it flawlessly. What's not to love?

High-quality ingredients are the key to elevating your Italian dishes

For beginners who want to try making their own pasta noodles, what's the best type to start with? What's the most important thing to keep in mind?

It's important to focus on the ingredients you're using. A big workspace, weighing your ingredients, and investing in 00 flour — I get mine on Giadzy — are key. And definitely use a pasta machine your first time!

What's your favorite cheesy pasta dish? Any tips you can share for people who want to try making it?

Pecorino Tartufo and cacio e pepe are my favorite dishes. Always use quality ingredients and give yourself plenty of time and space while cooking.

Parmigiano Reggiano is such a common go-to for Americans when topping pastas and making Italian-inspired dishes. What is your favorite, more under-the-radar Italian cheese that we should be appreciating more — and what are the best dishes to use it in?

Ricotta Salata is my favorite, and I love to put it over top grilled radicchio.

How to master brunch like Giada De Laurentiis

The brunch menu at Giada is very popular — what's your favorite dish on the menu?

It depends on my mood! Lately, I've been loving the avocado toast with cacio e pepe eggs and cherry tomatoes — it's amazing.

A personal favorite of mine is your grilled cheese panini. What's the secret to achieving the perfect melt and crispy outer texture when making them a home?

Add mayonnaise to the outside of the bread; it works every time.

Another brunch staple — a frittata. There's a lot of room for error when making these at home, from the pan used to the ingredients to the stovetop-to-oven ratio. What are your top tips and tricks for cooking frittata?

When I make a frittata at home, I like to use a nonstick pan. I usually add whatever little bits of leftovers I have in my fridge ... Some of my favorites are grated parmesan, prosciutto or bacon bits, smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. I always add a little milk to the eggs to help with the fluffy texture. Bake in the oven and serve with a little arugula salad on top!

Brunch isn't complete without cocktails — and it seems like Italian cocktails are having a moment. The Aperol spritz was all the rage a few years ago, and last year, the Negroni sbagliato was extremely popular. What do you think is going to be the next trendy Italian cocktail in 2023?

I think the Milano-Torino will be the next trendy Italian cocktail this year.

Giada De Laurentiis shares some of her Italian favorites

Do you have any favorite Italian restaurants here in the states, or shops to get great authentic Italian ingredients?

Giada at The Cromwell is my favorite, of course! I also love e. baldi in Beverly Hills. Oh, and always offers the best ingredients.

What cheeses, meats, and accouterments are must-haves for you on the perfect charcuterie board? Do you have any unique favorites you love to include?

Cerignola green olives, Taralli crackers, an amazing jam, and endless cheeses and meats are must-haves. I always keep my pantry stocked to make an amazing board.

What do you think about the growing resurgence of canned fish — from tuna, to anchovies, to sardines, smoked shellfish, and more? What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate tinned fish into your meals?

I love it! Canned fish elevates so many dishes like pasta and chicken — I'm obsessed with the new Armatore bluefin tuna on Giadzy.

She has a lot of delicious things in store

You just got back from Italy — how was that? Anything you can share about what you were working on during your visit and some of the amazing things you ate while there?

Yes! My recent trip to Italy was amazing, as always. These trips are focused on getting boots on the ground for my commerce platform, Giadzy. From trying the products to meeting the purveyors to learning the stories, these trips are so important for making and sustaining meaningful relationships.

You've also got new restaurants set to open at the Caesars hotel in Scottsdale. How will Luna set itself apart from your original Giada restaurant? Can you share any highlights from the menu you're developing?

I am very excited about Luna. It will be more coastal Italian than Giada at The Cromwell, but you will still be able to find some of our signature items there. We are also putting a heavy focus on tableside presentations, like tableside mozzarella and tableside cacio e pepe. Our goal is to activate the dining room and bring it to life through creative service.

You recently launched Giada catering, which you say has been a lifelong dream of yours. What are you most excited about in terms of this chapter of your career?

Yes, catering is taking me full circle, back to my roots as a private chef and cooking in people's homes. I am excited to reimagine and redefine the traditional catering experience. We are not only offering food but also branded experiences, like our Amalfi, Milan, or Rome packages, all of which I have personally curated from design and decor to create completely authentic Italian experiences around food and great hospitality.

See the latest from Giada De Laurentiis by following her on Instagram.

This interview has been edited for clarity.