Judge Spotlight: Giada’s Take

by in Behind the Scenes, June 14, 2011

Giada De Laurentiis

This season is Giada De Laurentiis’ first as a full-time judge on Food Network Star. The Giada at Home star and cookbook author came on board last year as a mentor for the finalists and then moved into a seat on the selection committee with Bob, Bobby and Susie.

Giada was actually discovered by one of her fellow judges almost a decade ago: Back in 2002, Bob Tuschman saw a magazine article about her and her food-loving Italian family and was intrigued. He gave her a call and soon thereafter Giada had her first show, Everyday Italian.

As someone who once feared the camera herself, Giada has a unique perspective on what it takes to be a star. Even though she’s no longer their official mentor, she has some sage advice for the finalists. Check out our behind-the-scenes interview with Giada to hear her best tips for the finalists and which of the hopefuls reminds her most of herself! Do you see similarities, Star fans?

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Comments (190)

  1. I really enjoy studying on this site, it holds fantastic posts .

  2. Chef Alexo says:

    Penny needs to get Chopped and you all know it. I think the food Network is leaving her in to stir up thing and I think it's ridiculous.Penny does not have a personality for a Food Network Star maybe for a Horror Movie and that is it.

    • LindaSta says:

      Juba wasn't able to face the camera in two consecutive dhallenges and that was huge. Much as we dislike Penny, at least she can face the camera with confidence. Unfortunately, the issue in the challenge Katy lost was primarily based on the food. Sadly, she didn't do as well as Penny and her responses to the judges weren't what they needed to be. Darn. We have to hope Penny flubs something BADLY soon,

      • JamesinAlaska says:

        Poor Juba. When I heard that bit about "Simple & Complex", I thought Ohhhhh Maannnn! What IS he talking about?!? Who knows? He may actually make quite tasty food...but he just didn't have it, on Camera.

      • JamesinAlaska says:

        To LindaSta,
        You mention about hoping Penny flubs something BADLY soon.
        Well, Susie Fogelson, in a recent video, is getting to like Penny more. So who knows, she may be with us awhile. (shrug)

    • Beth says:

      Totally agree, she is definitely two faced. That's not the way to win.

    • jcy says:

      She is so unlikeable that I would never watch a show with her as the star. Her skills in the kitchen are okay (at best) but she has the personality of a viper with a tooth ache.

    • ams says:

      Penny should have been gone a month ago. The judging is bogus. I thought this was going to a decent show on the Food Network, it is not.

  3. LindaSta says:

    I looked up Chris Nirschel and found several. It looks like the guy involved in the university hiring scandal and who assaulted a police officer in 2009 are the same person as Chef Nirschel, but it's not entirely clear. __If he is the same person and has turned his life around, then more power to him. But I will be a bit more critical if he really is that person. Wish we could know for certain.

    • JamesinAlaska says:

      I don't either. But I will bet that if it is true, Food Network will eventually
      reveal it to us. I remember a previous season with a guy named "Jag". It wasn't the same, but the "scoop" came out.

  4. LindaSta says:

    That is a good question. I remember Giada's early shows and she was definitely not the animated, warm person on camera that she is now and that, by all accounts, shows her real personality. If I had to pick someone who reminded me of Early Giada, it would probably be Jyll or Whitney.
    Orchid is sweet and charming, but ..... can't put my finger on it, but I don't see her as the real gold in the lump of ore that is the candidate group

    • ChrisB says:

      I don't have a favorite yet among this year's contenders, but I surely know who I don't like ;)

      I liked Giada better in her early FN days on "Everyday Italian". Now Giada's cooking shows are all about her coiffure, excessive makeup, decadent decolletes, and huge teeth. I really don't enjoy her shows any more and rarely watch.

      • Katrinka says:

        I agree. I used to watch Giada. Now I can't sit through 30 seconds of her shows. I hate her overenunciating and her constantly baring her huge teeth. She comes across as insincere. Not someone I want to watch. Orchid will probably endup being the Aria of last season. Aria seemed sweet and charming until her true colors showed. I don't like anyone on this season. I haven't watched any of the previous winners' shows more than once or twice, and I don't want to watch any of these contestants if they get a show. I'm watching this season purely for comic relief.

      • Katherine says:

        I totally agree with you, Chris. in her earlier shows, before SHE became a "superstar", Giada was warm, cute and charming. The "Fame Monster", has affected Giada, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. None of these ladies had to compete against anyone to get where they are. They were discoverd by the Food Network people and how fortunate for them, that they didn't have to compete for their jobs. I listen to some of the critiques, on TNFNS, and some of the comments are cruel and unnessary. Yes, they need to be guided and steered in the right direction but remember all these contestants must have some talent or they wouln't have been chosen, for the show. Even "southern belle", Paula Deen has shown that she is not all "peaches and cream." It seems that the famous ladies, aforementioned above, have let their fame, money and status, change what originally endeared us to them; talent, personality and humility. They need to take some guidance themselves, from Bobby Flay, who has matured into a "real" star, with talent and the capacity to still bring himself, down to our level and is gracious, at the same time.

  5. L. Moran says:

    Penny really needs to go. I thought this show was about who really is the best cook and has the best personality. Not a show about figuring out ways to get rid of the best to be left with mediocrity! Penny is not nice, a real phony. What her action said to me is that she is not confident in her cooking and therefore she has to get rid of people. Those who cannot cook or do not have the TV personality will eliminate themselves by their inability. Makes me wonder what kind of show this really is if Penny continues to pull the same back stabbing act. I am surprised that the Food Network would allow this kind of attitude to prevail. It really made the whole show very negative. A real shame!!

    • pam says:

      WOW do i agree with you..she is awful..she is selfish..and she loves to act like she is so tough yet play a victim..In my eyes she is really bringing the show down this year..I hope that they all listen to us soon or they will lose a viewer.

  6. saige says:

    wow giada is so catty and full of herself. first, she compares herself to one of the best and prettiest chefs in the show and then she cuts her down and says stuff like "she thinks she's better than everybody". she must feel very threatened and obviously has issues with other women, especially those who may be more talented and better looking than her. this is not the first time she's been passive aggressive or made digs at other women. giada, your insecurity and insincerity is really showing.

  7. Ruth says:

    Giada, so glad to see you a judge now. I sincerely hope you uphold to some high standards and intregrity that some contestants clearly (Penny) does not have.
    What a flushing down the toilet Food Network would be doing to themselves to have her on the network.

  8. Karen says:

    I feel that Giada needs to remember what it was like when she first started. It is very obvious to anyone that when she is watching the contestants, if they have a miss, which who wouldn't first time in front of a camera, she looks like she has tasted something bad. If you are a judge, you need to acquire an attempt at a poker face. Her facial expressions alone could throw anyone into self doubt who is trying to do a good job in front of the camera. She clearly feels she is the best at what she does and she isn't at all. At all. I think you can give suggestions, reinforcement, even constructive criticism as a judge without coming off like a know it all and without offering such intimidation. They are here to have a new person come to Food Network and I think a lot of them really need to put them selves in check and realize where they started and how they got there, the viewers.

    • JamesinAlaska says:

      I think you are definitely right. I wish they would pay more attention to that.
      Already, I have simply lost track of all the times where I've seen a sour look, a glare, a pained expression, often tell the story, even before some of the judges even comment. Mario Batali is an awesome chef, even an Iron Chef. But he wasn't so hot on Camera when he started.
      It would be VERY interesting if a few of the chefs who already have their own show had to "re-apply" for their job and go through all the stuff the new contestants are going through now. Once they have your own show, I dont see them cooking for 20 people at a time, or cooking for the entire staff of Cooking Light Magazine, etc.

      • Karen says:

        Absolutely! I agree completely. I think some of these chefs need to go back to their humble beginnings and remember how they started and not be so incredibly judgemental over minor details and expectation you can excel in front of a camera in one show. They have lost a lot of seriously great chefs in my opinion for nonsense in the long run for what could be a totally great addition to the team of Food Network. They had added some who will not last and let go some for utter nonsense. I am sure a large portion of who they let go are much better chefs and better tv personalities if they had been given more of a chance. Makes you wonder if they may be afraid of someone coming on who will throw them to the bottom of the group.

        • JamesinAlaska says:

          You hit on another point, too. Yes, I, too, have also wondered if some of the ones who have their own show already are afraid of some newcomer being TOO good, and making them, look worse.
          For that exact reason, I say everyone who has a show already, should NOT be on the judging panel. (In Bobby Flay's case, it may be unavoidable) but this would keep people from saying this or that judge is "being partial" or "feels threatened" by a newcomers ability. I think Saige had alot of truth in his/her post above. A person may have their own show--and be very good at. And highly popular. But that says NOTHING about how they treat new contestants! Power can be easily abused. To HAVE power---and NOT abuse it, is highly admirable.

          • Karen says:

            Well I am hopeful that the attitudes and smug looks of the judges will change and that Penny will realize this is not one of the Housewives reality shows, because I do love the show and I don't want to have to stop watching it for these reasons but I will if it doesn't change.

      • Katrinka says:

        I miss Mario's show. I learned so much. There wasn't a lot of fussiness with makeup, cleavage...just cooking and beautiful travel and cooking stories. And he was articulate. Giada is not.

        • JamesinAlaska says:

          YES! As you say, make-up, cleavage, etc.
          Put the emphasis back on "How-to-make-it".
          Then, if the Cook has a happy smile or a bit of occasional humor,
          that's good. But recipes 1st.

  9. desiree2011 says:

    I agree with all off you that Penny need to go, SOON. Penny attitude and the way she treats her fellow competitors on the show, is NOT an ideal person to be the next Food Network Star. I would definitely NOT watching her show, if she ended up winning..

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