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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Giada -- The Newest Chef Superstar

Tell me:

Have you heard of Giada De Laurentiis?

You may know her, three ways.

One, she's the unforgettable Sylvana Mangano's granddaughter. Va va va voom, right?

Two, she's Dino de Laurentiis' granddaughter, the producer of such films as Serpico; one of my favourite films of all time, La Notti di Cabiria; War & Peace; and erm, Conan the Barbarian. Who knew?

And thirdly, you may have caught her Food TV Network cable channel show, called Everyday Italian.

Until February of this year, I had never heard of Giada.

Then, one fine day, after I had made my New Year's Resolution to learn how to cook (at last), I was channelsurfing around the various Home, Food, And DIY channels, when I chanced on:

Giada's Italian Holiday

Oh. My. Lord.

What a delight this girl is -- soft, feminine, not a whit full of herself, and unbelievably sweet.

And of course, beautiful.

That never hurts, with both the male and female viewers.

Her beauty is not overbearing in manner and presence, but rather is a play between her eyes and the camera, which just eats her up.



I remember telling Renato later, who by the way, told me the name Giada is not unknown (albeit that was the first time I had heard of it -- it apparently means "Jade"), that I have no earthly idea why that raspy-voiced, irritating Rachael Ray is all the rage these days.

She hasn't a patch on Giada.

He told me that apparently, Oprah Winfrey has taken Ray under her wing, and is her latest "project", like Dr. Phil was.

Apparently, I am not the only one who is less than beguiled by Ray, as this Slate article claims there are dozens of blogs dedicated to slamming her.

Might be one of the few Slate articles I read until the end.

Often, I find myself liking a cook or chef on the various shows, despite the fact that I don't like their cookery tips.

Take Rosemary Schrager, whose Michelin Man physique and bat-high voice grates more than a Parmesan recipe.

But, I respond to her earnest love of cookery, although I have yet to prepare anything she's done on her show, Rosemary: Queen of the Kitchen (which takes her around the US), other than the olive oil mashed potatoes.

(They were deee-licious)

Conversely, I don't like Cookin' in Brooklyn chef, Alan Harding's brusque manners, but I adore his recipes, and I've actually attempted more than one dish of his, with success.

Perhaps what I like about Chef Alan, is his no-fuss fussiness, which combines wanting the best ingredients, with good old-fashioned American unpretentiousness.

My favourite episode of his? The one where he forgets his anniversary, and makes it up to his wife, when he secretly invades the kitchen where she's eating that night, sans Alan.

The acting was as bad, as the rack of lamb turned out fabulously, even for me.

Lastly, another television chef I appreciate, is Prince Edward Island's own Michael Smith.

His spur-of-the-moment recipes I find mesmerising, since the one thing I lack STILL, is inspirational, instinctive cookery -- which I fear, one is either born with, or lacks entirely.

But with Giada, I feel that all my insufficiencies, are as nothing.

Her silky presence is as comforting to the novice, as to the professional.

I feel that her dishes are eminently do-able, which gives me confidence.

What is keeping her back from becoming a BIG BIG star, like Rachael Ray is poised to be?

The next Emeril, the next Molto Mario, the next Frugal Gourmet (whatever happened to him? Oh yeah, I remember...)?

Who knows.

Maybe it's precisely her high-flying family connexions that intimidates people, like Oprah, who perhaps sees in Rachael someone who is not unlike her -- talented, but clunky: at first.

Perhaps there is less room for improvement with Giada.

She is, quite literally, impeccable. Not just as a chef, but more importantly, as a woman.

That's a hard act to make greater.

22 Comments:

  • For the last year or two, I can't pass the Food Channel when I see her. The remote is set down and I watched the wonderful interplay she has with the camera. Those eyebrows flying up and down along with the shine in her eyes and that little, tiny waist. She can't possibly eat which is so incongruous. Next to you, I'm in love with her.

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Apr 17, 07:25:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey there, Paul! :)

    I missed you, and hope you missed me a bit too. ;)

    For the last year or two, I can't pass the Food Channel when I see her.

    What the heck...

    It makes me think just how much I am unaware of, since I don't necessarily know or like a certain topic -- as cooking was for me, until recently.

    I rarely watch BET and MTV, so who knows what I'm missing from those two channels.

    (Although I like "Pimp my ride". I would)

    The remote is set down and I watched the wonderful interplay she has with the camera. Those eyebrows flying up and down along with the shine in her eyes and that little, tiny waist. She can't possibly eat which is so incongruous. Next to you, I'm in love with her.

    Aww. That's so nicely put.

    But do you ever follow any of her recipes?

    I wonder just how involved they would be, since good Italian food is just more than spaghetti and pizza.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 17, 08:06:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Here I'd just like to say that my good friend Jim (Jeem), long ago told me of the wonders of Food TV, and indeed, Family Guy.

    It's only now that I'm listening to him.

    Jim is also The Google God, and the Voice of Concacaf, BTW. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 17, 08:07:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Have you heard, Vics, that talent and beauty hurt the person who have them both?
    Double servings of envy, galore.
    Then Giada has class. I mean, she's not "classy", and adjective that I generally associate with a cheap flashy hairdo and long nails which proclaim "I do nothing all day", and a ball of pink bubble gum about to explode on her lips. Absurdly, she's threatening in a world of plain looking Janes.
    We need not forget that vulgarity is the rage on these days in TV-Land and Hollyweird, and Giada is above the others, in talent, class, brains, personality, and beauty.
    Besides, Giada's cuisine is sophisticated and serious. Many points in her favor, in my book, but apparently not what the TV producers like.

    By Blogger Charlie Bravo, at Mon Apr 17, 08:14:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Have you heard, Vics, that talent and beauty hurt the person who have them both?

    Alas, Charlie, you're right.

    Here's a semi-related point.

    It's an old wives tale in Germany, that "fairies" come to visit a child in their crib, as they sleep, shortly after they are born.

    Each fairy gives the girl, a virtue.

    One fairy may give her wisdom.

    The other beauty.

    The third may yet give her talent.

    But as ever with fairies, the old wives tale includes a mean fairy, that comes to give you something evil.

    I remember my grand-mother said this about her sister, that family word-of-mouth said, she got everything, and then the bad fairy gave her "the inability to enjoy everything in life".

    Sigh.

    Double servings of envy, galore.

    Yes, it's sad sometimes.

    Then Giada has class. I mean, she's not "classy", and adjective that I generally associate with a cheap flashy hairdo and long nails which proclaim "I do nothing all day", and a ball of pink bubble gum about to explode on her lips.

    Hey, that's sounds like me!

    Except the bit about the cheap flashy hairdo and bubble gum. ;)

    Absurdly, she's threatening in a world of plain looking Janes.

    I think the View women would have a collective heart attack if they had her.

    Finally, someone who isn't even interested in their carping and belittling opinions.

    We need not forget that vulgarity is the rage on these days in TV-Land and Hollyweird, and Giada is above the others, in talent, class, brains, personality, and beauty.

    Quite right.

    And that would stand if I found out she was a raging DLC'er. ;)

    Besides, Giada's cuisine is sophisticated and serious. Many points in her favor, in my book, but apparently not what the TV producers like.

    Well, let's not write her off entirely.

    I think she's at the cusp of just hitting the big time.

    We'll give her another 6 months, until Christmas, to see if she takes off with the mainstream public.

    Her new book, of which I posted a pic, is doing fabulously. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 17, 08:49:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Okay, lads and ladettes!

    I'm off from this comp lab at school, since me bum is really hurting by now.

    I will stop at a friend's home, and chat since I'm so close by.

    I don't know if I will have internet, or if it is stable even if I do, so just in case, if you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know why.

    Keep calm, send for help, and light up those flares!

    I'll be back here Wednesday if I don't get connected. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 17, 08:50:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Not long ago, Tvgasm posted a short clip of Giada that was hilariously charming: Giada had whipped together some kind of frozen concoction that was apparently missing an important ingredient. She put it together, tasted it, and without missing beat, declared it delicious, though it was plain she was fighting the urge to gag. Great stuff!

    By Blogger Pete, at Mon Apr 17, 09:26:00 pm GMT-4  

  • But do you ever follow any of her recipes?

    I wonder just how involved they would be, since good Italian food is just more than spaghetti and pizza.


    She demonstrates them nicely, explaining what she does and why she uses certain things and what they add.

    I can't try her recipes, I can't follow them cause I'm constantly looking at her instead. Just like I'm always thinking of you. I'll have to buy this book.

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Apr 17, 10:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I smell a woman crush! You have such good taste!

    By Anonymous Darrell, at Tue Apr 18, 12:38:00 am GMT-4  

  • Bah. Here's the thing: Giada doesn't look like a person who enjoys eating. I mean really enjoys it. (Nothing to do with figure, mind you.)

    Ray, OTOH, clearly loves food. She's competing with Martha, anyway, and who wouldn't prefer Rachel Ray to that convicted felon?

    By Blogger JSU, at Tue Apr 18, 05:13:00 am GMT-4  

  • Incidentally, Conan is the best of the movies you list. ;)

    (Kidding, I love Masina. But it tops the others.)

    By Blogger JSU, at Tue Apr 18, 05:15:00 am GMT-4  

  • Giada is great! I keep wanting to make her Chicken Vesuvius but seem to never have all the right ingredients together.

    She has a new show that I keep missing called "Behind the Bash" so she may be hitting her stride in the celebrity cooks world. It's a sneak peak at the food behind parties, after-parties and awards.

    Somewhere Mario Batali must be wondering what hit him.:)

    By Blogger Renato, at Tue Apr 18, 03:52:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Not long ago, Tvgasm posted a short clip of Giada that was hilariously charming: Giada had whipped together some kind of frozen concoction that was apparently missing an important ingredient. She put it together, tasted it, and without missing beat, declared it delicious, though it was plain she was fighting the urge to gag. Great stuff!

    Whoa, Pete. I wonder, do you have a direct link?

    So far, I haven't had any oopsies, with the chef recipes I've seen.

    Although that lobster mac-n-cheese I ate, via Michael Smith, was very fishy.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Apr 19, 02:54:00 am GMT-4  

  • I can't try her recipes, I can't follow them cause I'm constantly looking at her instead. Just like I'm always thinking of you. I'll have to buy this book.

    I think I'll have at least one reader, if ever I write a book. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Apr 19, 02:55:00 am GMT-4  

  • I smell a woman crush!

    In the making. ;)

    You have such good taste!

    What is your opinion of Susie Gharib, Darrell?

    She still gets me lots of hits to my blog, bless her.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Apr 19, 02:56:00 am GMT-4  

  • Bah. Here's the thing: Giada doesn't look like a person who enjoys eating. I mean really enjoys it. (Nothing to do with figure, mind you.)

    Really?? Come on, now. Really?

    I think just the opposite.

    She's unusually concentrated and involved in her displays, on her show.

    Perhaps that doesn't translate as enthusiasm, so much as dilligence, but still -- I don't get that opinion at all!

    Have you seen her travellogue to Italy?

    You should see her wolf down a Venetian Harry's Bar grilled cheese sandwich, boy.

    Ray, OTOH, clearly loves food.

    Actually, I agree with that. She does have an intimate, even if rather pedestrian knowledge of the dishes she's doing -- and seems to delight in eating them afterwards.

    She's competing with Martha, anyway, and who wouldn't prefer Rachel Ray to that convicted felon?

    That I don't understand, either.

    I am not so dismissive of Martha, as you are, JSU.

    I think she suffers from Diva Treatment Syndrome (DTS), with her high-handed and very arrogant ways, but just because she manhandled the Feds, doesn't mean I feel her incarceration was justified or makes her reprehensible to watch ever afterwards.

    I like the fact that women especially, dislike her.

    Basically, she makes many women look bad, by excelling in that which we're supposed to -- in creativity and perfection around the home.

    Plus her K-Mart stuff is cheap, and looks pretty.

    Ultimately, I like the IDEA of her.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Apr 19, 03:02:00 am GMT-4  

  • Giada is great! I keep wanting to make her Chicken Vesuvius but seem to never have all the right ingredients together.

    Erm, I am intrigued! I must do this immediately.

    I'm guessing mussarel cheese in the middle, oozing out like lava?

    She has a new show that I keep missing called "Behind the Bash" so she may be hitting her stride in the celebrity cooks world. It's a sneak peak at the food behind parties, after-parties and awards.

    I haven't seen that yet!

    Wolfgang Puck must be very cross. :)

    Somewhere Mario Batali must be wondering what hit him.:)

    I think he's more interested in finding another pair of orange clogs...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Apr 19, 03:04:00 am GMT-4  

  • A direct link to TVGASM? What, and show off my lack of mad HTML skillz?

    Sigh.

    Okay, here it is: http://www.tvgasm.com/archives/food_network/001570.php

    I mis-remembered; it's not a film clip but a series of screen grabs with high-larious captions. I don't think you'll be offended. The link may include commenters to the post and I can't be responsible for their opinions but my own opinion was this showed the dear Giada in a charming light. I hope you agree.

    By Blogger Pete, at Wed Apr 19, 05:25:00 pm GMT-4  

  • A direct link to TVGASM? What, and show off my lack of mad HTML skillz?

    Sigh.


    Okay here, just take away the "spaces"):

    Wow! It doesn't let me post it...well fudge.

    Thanks Pete! I will watch it. :)

    I mis-remembered; it's not a film clip but a series of screen grabs with high-larious captions.

    Cool. Me likes.

    I don't think you'll be offended. The link may include commenters to the post and I can't be responsible for their opinions but my own opinion was this showed the dear Giada in a charming light. I hope you agree.

    Don't worry. You know I'm not touchy (except on rare festive occasion), and I don't think Sundries readers are either.

    But if it sucks, consider yourself banned.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Apr 20, 09:37:00 am GMT-4  

  • "What is your opinion of Susie Gharib, Darrell?"

    Well, I do like her better than her uncle Abu.

    I confess that I haven't seen her in action more than a few minutes. I stay away from the MSM when it comes to science or business news. I prefer to go with original sources and skip the "agenda."

    By Anonymous Darrell, at Thu Apr 20, 12:22:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I use her tiramisu recipe and my first attempt and ever concocting such a dish, using her method, turned out surprisingly great.

    That woman can flat-out cook...and she's a looker too. She's definitely ginchy. Thanks for reminding me to add "Everyday Italian" to my TiVo...

    By Blogger Telecomedian, at Fri Apr 21, 09:47:00 am GMT-4  

  • Rachael Ray was in Giada's category until she started appearing on the Food Network (oops...I mean the Rachael Ray Network) every 30 minutes. Talk about overexposure.

    Same could happen to Giada if she's not careful.

    By Blogger Robert, at Sun Apr 23, 04:06:00 pm GMT-4  

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