Giada de Laurentiis

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s nothing we love more than girl power in the food industry. And if that girl power is wrapped in a fit, fabulous package, we are obsessed. Enter Giada de Laurentiis, Culinary Hall of Fame member and Food Network host extraordinaire. Her recent book, Happy Cooking, has left us all wondering how she balances staying in shape with being a self-proclaimed chocoholic. She gave us tips for getting ready in the morning and advised us to always check our receipts!

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day be?

In the morning, brown rice with olive oil and salt and an Americano with agave, followed by mid-morning fruit. In the afternoon, a robust salad with arugula, fresh tomatoes, roasted almonds, dried cranberries and a protein such as steak, roasted turkey breast or avocado. All drizzled with olive oil! In the late afternoon, an iced Americano and a piece of dark chocolate (I love dark chocolate with cocoa nibs). For dinner, I love something warm and delicate, like soup. Favorites include lentil, split pea, my lemon chicken soup (Jade’s favorite!) and a new one from Happy Cooking called pastina!

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

Even when I have a crazy schedule, I make a point of doing yoga four to five times a week. I’m a hotel room yoga expert! I also eat a lot of olive oil (for that healthy glow!) and make sure to drink lots of water!

How has the food industry changed since you started?

I think the quality of food has become a lot better. People are more interested in what they’re eating and are also a lot more health conscious. I’m also happy to say there are a lot more women in the food industry.

As someone who loves cooking and food, how do you also practice balance? 

Have a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything!

The best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received so much great advice over the years that I use as touchstones on a daily basis. To name a few: Never stop being curious. There is no such thing as trying, only doing. Laugh hard and often. Taste everything as you go. Check your receipt! I think I would have to say the best advice I received was at a very young age, from my grandmother. She told me, “Don’t give advice, give compassion.” It’s so simple, so easy to forget…but so true!

How do you always start your day? What’s your go to breakfast? 

Take a deep breath. My go-to breakfast is one from my new cookbook – oatmeal with olive oil, orange segments and sliced almonds on top.

What’s been the most memorable meal in your career thus far?

Definitely cooking for Prince William and Kate Middleton. It will always be one of the most unforgettable moments of my career.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

I keep my routine pretty simple; I always take my makeup off using baby oil (old school, but always does the trick!), then I exfoliate and moisturize. I floss everyday without fail!

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with? 

Jade. We would share my seven layer chocolate cake.

What ingredient do you consider overrated? Which makes everything better? 

Truffle is overrated. Chocolate definitely makes everything better!

What do you always put out at a dinner party? What do you bring to one as a guest?

I always put out warm spiced popcorn (from Happy Cooking) and crudité with walnut butter. I always bring my signature lemon ricotta cookies.

Advice you’d give to women getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror and getting dressed…

The first thing you should do when you look at yourself is smile.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

In New York, Morandi for their pasta, meatballs and Arancini di Riso, and Motorino for pizza. I also recently tried Jonathan Waxman’s new restaurant Jams and loved it! In Chicago, Blackbird for their bouillabaisse and turnip or rhubarb ice cream, and Green Zebra for fabulous vegetarian food. In Los Angeles, Gjusta for breakfast, Capo for the best steak in town, and Chef Zach Pollack’s restaurant Sotto for an amazing spaghetti with octopus ragu. You also have to try his grilled pork meatballs – so delish!

In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

Toast!

Read Katie Lee’s guide to entertaining and check out this interview with Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

*Giada de Laurentiis, photographed at the St Regis in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann