LAT Festival of Books - Chef of Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis
Giada DeLaurentiis is the chef of Everyday Italian on the Food Network and she now has as a book based on the show.
Giada started her demonstration off by preparing white bean dip.
She said that whenever you use items from a can, it is a good idea to rinse and drain them or else you will carry over the flavor of the liquid in the cans. She also said to use the flat leaf parsley that is also known as Italian parsley. She said the curly parsley has very little taste.
She then worked on a pasta dish. She stressed that when cooking pasta, use plenty of water so the pasta can swim in it and won't clump together. Also, add salt to the water for flavor and when it is done to save a cup of the water for the sauce. While the ziti was boiling and her helpers were preping the asparagus (she told them to cut the asparagus into pieces the size of the ziti), she fielded some questions from the audience.
Someone asked which brands of pasta she likes.
Giada said she likes Barilla and De Cecco.
One fan wanted to know how she got into cooking.
Giada said her family ran a restaurant and market and as a kid she saw chefs all the time and she was in love with cooking. She got her anthropology degree at UCLA but decided to pursuing cooking and went to culinary school in Paris. After that she worked at various restaurants including Spagos. She also did catering and personal chefing. One day an article she wrote on some easy Italian recipes was seen by someone at Food Network and voila, she was discovered.
She sauteed some garlic in olive oil, tore up some basil, and cut up some smoked mozzarella cheese.
There was a question about about olive oil and her advice on the myriad of choices.
She said, there is quite a variety and it really is all about your personal taste. She said for cooking she likes olive oils in the $5.99 range. When the olive oil is not cooked and used for flavoring then she likes to go up to the $12-$15 range.
The pasta was done and she piled on the various ingredients. The pasta was hot enough to melt the mozzarella and she topped it off with some prosciutto.
For the final dish, she did grilled pineapple with nutella.
As the helpers worked on that, someone asked about the filming of her show.
She said that one 30 minute show without the commercials is really 22 minutes. Nevertheless, it takes 16 hours to film one show. They have one camera that is hand held and it is shot in Los Angeles.
A lady asked, how do you stay so thin! You know people say you can't trust a skinny chef!
Giada laughed. She was wondering when someone would ask. She said people usually ask that pretty early in any of her public appearances!
She said she simply enjoys eating but in moderation. And she exercise. And she said, I also have to give credit to good genes and called for her mom to come to the stage.
And the crowd cheered as Giada's mom came forward and a few people near me shouted: no way, she is your sister!
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LAT Festival of Books initial blog post