From TV to the Las Vegas Strip, Giada De Laurentiis is known for her endearing personality and stellar skills in the kitchen. Growing up in Rome to living in LA, this former caterer turned mega foodie sensation has solidified her footprint on the culinary scene. Known for her hit show Everyday Italian, the beautiful and talented Chef seems to be the queen of balance and we just love that about her. When she’s not overseeing her restaurant division or cooking for national audiences you can find her enjoying the beach with her daughter and their new pup Bruno, doing yoga, or grabbing a cocktail at Wally’s in LA. We sat down with the infamous TV personality to pick her brain on all things travel and the real reason why a visit to her restaurant is a must when visiting Sin City.
LATM: Where was your first trip abroad and what was that like?
GDL: I grew up outside of Rome, so the first trip we took together as a family was to the Dominican Republic. My grandparents had a house in Santo Domingo and I remember the locals being the warmest, kindest people. My grandfather never went anywhere without bringing his own pasta and olive oil; he would teach the locals how to cook pasta and pizza, then we would all sit at these big, long tables for these dinners that lasted for hours. I loved it!
LATM: Tell us 3 destinations or activities that are still on your bucket list.
GDL: Japan, Antarctica and the moon.
LATM: What is your ideal vacation?
GDL: Hanging with my daughter Jade either on the beach or with my family in Rome.
LATM: Why did you decide to become a chef?
GDL: I became a chef because I realized at the age of 12 that I enjoyed hanging out at my grandfather’s food emporium. I watched all the customers come in with amazement and awe of the scents, tastes and visuals that they saw there and I wanted to wow people in that same way. So later in life I ended up going to culinary school in Paris. I also just really love food – I love being around food, I dream about food, and I love sharing it with other people.
LATM: What is the biggest pet peeve you have in the kitchen?
GDL: Tomato sauce cooked in a cast iron.
LATM: Who is your biggest influence?
GDL: My travels and my fans.
LATM: Where does your culinary inspiration come from?
GDL: My grandfather, my mom and my aunt. I’ve always thought that I’m a combination of those three people. Though my Aunt Raffy & I don’t always agree on how to cook certain dishes, she always pushes me to try things a new way, and a lot of the time, it turns out really good!
LATM: What is your favorite thing to do when you have time off?
GDL: Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment…. I like to do yoga, have family over for a meal or hang with Jade and our new pup, Bruno.
LATM: Share with us some of your favorite places in LA:
Best Hotel: Hotel Bel-Air
Best Restaurant: Capo
Favorite thing to do: Visit the Griffith Observatory
Best Place to Grab a Cocktail: Wally’s
LATM: Share with us some of your favorite places in Las Vegas:
Best Restaurant: Giada… but I’m biased.
Favorite Activity: Race Car Driving
Best Place to Grab a Cocktail: The Cosmo or Ecco and Rig if you venture off the strip.
LATM: What can we find in your carry-on?
GDL: I always have a Ziploc bag of unsalted raw almonds, a scarf in case it gets cold, Vitamin C packets, Jasmine or Gardenia essential oil to dab on after the flight, and one too many lip glosses!
LATM: What is your most memorable travel experience (good or bad)?
GDL: Taking Jade to Paris for the first time. We were only there for 24 hours but it was just enough time to grab a croissant at my favorite bakery, Poilane.
LATM: If you could splurge on any food in the world, what would it be?
GDL: Chocolate! Chocolate anything… I’d bathe in it if I could.
LATM: Why should readers visit your restaurant?
GDL: In my opinion, it has the best combo…. the best view, the best service and the best food, and that trio is magic.