Although she's a regular guest on Beat Bobby Flay and Iron Chef America, and is the host of multiple Food Network shows, including Food Network Star, Giada De Laurentiis wasn't always so comfortable behind the camera. In fact, in a new interview with People magazine, she remembers feeling more anxious than excited that the world would be watching her cook.
De Laurentiis told the magazine that cooking on camera was "very intimidating" in the beginning. When the Food Network hired her to host Everyday Italian in 2003, she had been working as a food stylist for the network behind the scenes, and had never appeared on camera before.
She's now famous for making Italian cooking accessible to the amateur home cook, but when she was first starting out, she had troubling grasping the fact that what might seem obvious to her — like the fact that pasta should always be cooked al dente — wasn't common knowledge to most Americans.
"Italian culture and Italian food were such a part of my every day that I didn't realize other people wouldn't understand certain things," she says.
Looking back, De Laurentiis admits that she wasn't "secure enough," in her skills to be confident on-screen. Clearly she got her bearings because she's now one of the most dominant forces in food television. Still, one of her most infamous television mishaps still haunts her: It was her first time on live television. She was showing Al Roker how to prepare chicken with pesto (although a food stylist was doing the actual cooking). Once the food was done, Roker decided he wanted to try it, so he cut into the chicken, and lo and behold, it was raw.
"I just froze, my entire body and mind froze," she recalls. Yup, even the pros make mistakes, so don't feel guilty next time your dinner doesn't turn out quite the way you planned.
De Laurentiis eventually proved that she's a master of Italian cooking, though, and even has a new cookbook out on the subject called Giada's Italy.