For Turkey Day, Food Network stars aren’t just making masterpieces in the oven; they’re also setting an impressive holiday table for dinner guests. With a few tips and tricks from Giada, Ina and Sandra, you can turn your dining room table into one fit for a Thanksgiving celebration.
Giada likes to spoil each of her guests with their own dish for olive oil. At each guest’s place setting, there’s also a special place card. “I have the person’s name on one side,” says Giada, “and on the other side I have his or her favorite hobby or passion. It’s a great conversation starter and it guarantees that the night will be full of laughs and lots of fun.”
To make kids feel extra special at their Thanksgiving table, Giada makes homemade chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles, and then wraps them up with a nametag for each child. Instead of a tablecloth, Giada rolls out butcher paper to give kids a place to draw on.
Keep reading for more tips
You’ve seen her host her own Food Network series, including Giada at Home, and mentor budding talent on Food Network Star. She’s an Emmy award winner, a six-time cookbook author and a mom. Now the Italian-born Giada De Laurentiis can add one more accomplishment to her long list of accolades: restaurant owner. After years of speculation regarding if and when this Food Network superstar would launch her very own eatery, Giada announced yesterday that she’s set to open her premiere restaurant in Las Vegas. “Ever since I was a little girl hanging out at my grandfather’s restaurant, I’ve dreamed of having a restaurant of my own,” Giada said. “Now, I couldn’t be more excited about working with Gansevoort Las Vegas and Caesars Entertainment to turn this dream into a delicious reality.”
Perched high above the glamour of the shining Sin City, Giada’s restaurant will take over the second floor of the not-yet-opened Gansevoort Las Vegas and offer outdoor dining, plus striking views of the Las Vegas Strip. The menu, of course, will keep with the style of classic yet innovative Italian fare fans have become familiar with on Giada’s shows and in her cookbooks; freshly baked breads, antipasto, signature pastas, flatbreads and custom desserts are just a few of the specialties she’s promised to unveil at her sure-to-be-hot spot when it opens early next year.
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Both on and off camera, celebrity chefs are saying goodbye to aprons and hello to chic style. Four Food Network chefs — Alton, Giada, Geoffrey and Marcus — made Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed Chefs list. We all know their food and/or restaurants are worthy of praise, but their individual styles earned applause from the fashion world.
Bad fashion is on the chopping block for Geoffrey Zakarian. His slick New York City style includes tortoiseshell glasses (he actually has 12 pairs) and pastel button-downs. Geoffrey seamlessly trades his chef’s jacket for a crisp gingham shirt and sport coat.
Alton Brown’s come a long way from his quirky Good Eats costumes. Now he can be spotted with his trademark modern vintage style including dapper bow ties, hipster spectacles and tweed blazers. On this season of Food Network Star, you’ll find him rocking plaid button-downs, retro fedoras and well-tailored suits.
More chefs named best-dressed
South Beach may be famous for its sparkling blue waters, white sandy beaches and diverse culture, but when Giada De Laurentiis is in town, the focus here inevitably turns to food. For her first solo event at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, she joined forces with the team at Casa Tua Hotel and Restaurant — a longtime favorite of hers in the area — to offer an Italian in Paradise Dinner to an intimate crowd of just 100 people. She promised an authentic Italian feast designed by herself in conjunction with Paolo del Papa, the chef at Casa Tua, and together they delivered an elegant yet comforting spread complete with five signature courses and paired wines.
Before Giada took to the kitchen to help with meal prep, she mingled with guests at a walk-around cocktail hour in the upstairs lounge of the restaurant, posed for photos and signed cookbooks galore, providing fans a seemingly one-time-only opportunity to get to know their Food Network favorite. Party-goers munched on an array of passed spuntini — snacks — like rolled zucchini stuffed with creamy goat cheese, plus bite-size eggplant parmesan and chunks of deliciously salty parmesan cheese straight from the wheel of grana padano as they chatted with the hostess. Looking ahead to dinner, Giada told us, “We’ve been prepping for three days. It’s been awesome … Hopefully everybody will enjoy it.”
This weekend, Food Network has a bunch of new episodes that capture the spirit of adventure, the willingness to try new things and the sense of competition.
On Saturday watch Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. Ina and Jeffrey travel through Napa Valley on their California adventure. Giada shows you how she likes to mix things up for dinner on Monday nights by going meatless.
On Sunday night, there are three competitions back-to-back. First, on Sugar Dome, different artists are challenged to create displays inspired by the ’80s. On Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the stars head to a farm outside of Hollywood to convene with the sources of the food they must cook. And on Iron Chef America, it’s a rematch between Iron Chef Zakarian and challenger Chef Michael Chiarello, with special guest judge Neil Patrick Harris.
Read about the shows
We recently asked Food Network fans on Twitter to send their party-themed questions to an entertaining pro, Giada de Laurentiis. Just in time for New Year’s Eve, Giada shares tips to ensure you enjoy your own party, as much as your guests do. Click the play button above to watch Giada answer fan questions and get some of her party recipes below.
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All month long, Food Network has a bunch of holiday episodes and specials that are sure to give you some great ideas for celebrating the holidays. This weekend it’s all about entertaining family members and dear friends. Visit with Ree, Trisha and Giada as they show you how they celebrate with their loved ones. From Rachael you’ll get five great dinner recipes that you can rely on when entertaining this season. And finally, if you’re looking for the best cookie and cake recipes to serve for dessert, the chefs from All-Star Cookies and The Best Thing I Ever Made have you covered.
If you missed any of last week’s holiday episodes, be sure to check out our Program Guide to see when they air again.
The Pioneer Woman: “Christmas Is Coming“
Join the Drummond family on their ranch to see how they celebrate Christmas over three days. Ree makes Rigatoni and Meatballs, which is the perfect meal to enjoy after the work of trimming the tree. On Christmas Eve, Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites are put out for Santa in case he gets tired of all those cookies. And for a traditional ranch-style Christmas Day brunch, it’s Drop Biscuits and Sausage Gravy.
Tune in: Saturday, December 8 at 10:30am/9:30c
More holiday episodes from Trisha, Giada and Rachael
Every day this week we’re giving you a recipe that reinvents your Thanksgiving leftovers in an easy, tasty and creative way. After all, those leftovers deserve a second chance, especially if they weren’t the star dish of the table to begin with (the turkey gets all the attention!).
This recipe reinvents one of the holiday’s most popular dishes, mashed potatoes, to create something entirely innovative. Giada turns leftover mashed potatoes into pancakes. Each one is served over marinara sauce and topped with a fried egg.
Get the Eggs in Purgatory recipe
When Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis took the stage at New York City’s Times Center, it didn’t take long for these longtime friends and colleagues to start passing playful, well-meaning jabs to one another. The two joined Julia Moskin of The New York Times as part of a series of TimesTalks during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and what followed was a lighthearted conversation about food, Food Network Star and their early days on the network. Never one to miss a beat, Bobby jokingly told the audience, “As you know, Giada invented Italian food,” while Food Network’s resident Italian superstar took the dig in stride before returning the favor to Bobby. She told the story of how he claimed on national television to have discovered a secret pasta-making strategy, when in fact it was she who deserved the credit.
In no time, their chat turned to the most-recent season of Food Network Star, in which Justin Warner, mentor Alton Brown’s Rebel With a Culinary Cause, scored the most votes from at-home viewers and was crowned Food Network’s newest star. Bobby and Giada, also mentors to teams of Star contenders, looked back on the season and agreed that while other contestants may have turned out better food, Justin “is a talented entertainer” and “has a real chance to make some noise” now that he has claimed the top prize.
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Food Network Star kicks off its eighth season this Sunday night, but this year’s competition will be like nothing you’ve seen before. Three of Food Network’s finest chefs and superstars – Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis – are joining the contest, not as judges, but as guiding mentors to groups of five hand-picked Star hopefuls. With the advice and support of their coaches, finalists on Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada will battle it out week after week in the ultimate job interview to prove they have what it takes to host their own Food Network show.
Get to know each of the contestants before Sunday night’s episode by watching a never-before-seen casting special on Saturday, May 12 at 9pm/8c. Alton, Bobby and Giada reveal why they chose each finalist for their respective teams and offer a behind-the-scenes look into this season’s competitive casting process.
Then tune in to the season eight premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, May 13 at 9pm/8c to see which finalists are early favorites and who gets sent home first.
Cast your preseason Fan Vote now and join the #Star conversation on Twitter. Tell us: Will you be rooting for #TeamAlton, #TeamBobby or #TeamGiada?