Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Celebrity Chef Embraces Life, Blending Cuisines

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Celebrity Chef Embraces Life, Blending Cuisines

Article excerpt

For Giada de Laurentiis, a perfect Mother's Day would be one where she can stay in bed all day and do nothing. And the day would be even sweeter, if her 10-year-old daughter, Jade, would make every meal, she says laughing, knowing that neither of those would be happening.

In fact, it's probably going to end up another day on-the-go for the restaurateur, celebrity TV chef and author, who has been on a frantic pace since the beginning of the year. She opened her second restaurant, Pronto, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in February and on the heels of that came out with her ninth cookbook, "Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita" (Clarkson Potter; March 2018).

Now she's gearing up for opening her third restaurant, GDL Italian by Giada, at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on May 16. When the idea was first brought up by Caesars Entertainment Corp., which also oversees her first restaurant, the Giada at The Cromwell in Las Vegas, there was talk about replicating some of the themes of the upscale restaurant. But Ms. de Laurentiis settled for a trattoria-style restaurant that offers a neighborhood environment.

The Rome native, who was raised in Los Angeles, also wants GDL Italian to stay with her signature style of cooking - Italian food with California flavor - and share a menu that is all about embracing life and enjoying every moment. In a phone interview last week, she spoke about her newest restaurant, her latest cookbook and her biggest fan.

New restaurant in Baltimore: The menu at GDL Italian will incorporate Baltimore-related ingredients and so the arancini will be made with Chesapeake crabs and seasoned with Old Bay. The mayo will have Old Bay, too. Local fish will be used and the bread will be from local bakeries. We are currently looking for a local gelato supplier. We also are going to have a contest where Baltimore residents can submit recipes and the winning one will get a spot on the menu and we credit the winner.

#MeToo movement: I understand the sentiment especially since I have a daughter. It's time we as women get recognized and get the respect we deserve. It was sad to see some of my friends go down so quickly. But it also makes me sad that some women had to endure all that pain. It is about respecting all human beings. There are many rules and regulations in place in my restaurants as it is very corporate. In Baltimore, my sous chef is an African-American woman and the general manager in all my three properties are women.

On "Giada's Italy": I wanted this cookbook to be more in line with the way Italians actually eat. For lunch, they have simpler and lighter meals. They eat a lot of in-betweens [tramezzini] and so will have a pizza or a panini as an afternoon snack. I divided the main courses into lunch, which is often soup, and weeknights, which features simple pastas and seafood and meat dishes that can be made with less fuss. …

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