If we had to guess, we’d bet that Giada De Laurentiis is probably going to enjoy an Italian meal in celebration of her 47th birthday on Tuesday.
De Laurentiis has starred in multiple Food Network series, published several cookbooks, and even found time to launch her own lifestyle website. But the celeb chef’s successful career hasn’t been without its controversial moments.
Here are the ones you should know:
‘Dump bucket’ allegations
De Laurentiis was accused of having a “dump bucket” and spitting out her food in a 2014 New York Post story.
“When Giada films her cooking show, she never eats. Never. When she is making drinks and food that she has to drink or eat, they have a dump bucket that is brought out the second they cut,” a source told the newspaper.
It was also alleged that, occasionally, during filming, “they have an assistant take the bite (so you only see teeth and a mouth), and then they cut back to her taking an empty fork out of her mouth to resume filming.”
De Laurentiis’ representative, Stephen Huvane, told the Post that she “absolutely eats her own food while filming.”
“Giada tapes sometimes three episodes in one day, and they do multiple takes on a close-up of her eating. She doesn’t always eat and swallow every time, since they can do sometimes six to 10 takes with three episodes a day, and that would be like eating six to eight meals a day … The bottom line is, she most certainly does eat the food she prepares on the show, but does not always consume the whole dish, as that would be too much for most people to eat in one day,” Huvane said.
In 2010, the chef denied having an affair with musician John Mayer after Star magazine accused the two of having a tryst, MTV reported.
In late December 2014, De Laurentiis announced that she and her husband, Todd Thompson, were ending their 11-year marriage. A January 2015 Star article again mentioned the supposed “tryst,” along with what it called a “close relationship” with Matt Lauer and “closer-than-close relationship” with Bobby Flay.
“The allegation of an affair was a fabrication back in 2010 and remains so today,” De Laurentiis told Gossip Cop about the Mayer claims.
Regarding Lauer and Flay, she said, “My long-time friendships with my co-workers Matt Lauer and Bobby Flay are exactly that — long-time friendships.”
Nicole Kidman criticized De Laurentiis’ cooking in an “Ellen” appearance in May 2017, which multiple reports deemed “awkward.”
In a cooking segment, De Laurentiis instructed host Ellen DeGeneres and Kidman on how to make arancini balls. At one point, De Laurentiis asked DeGeneres, “Have you made any kind of balls before?”
“No, I’m not …” DeGeneres trailed off, with the audience laughing.
De Laurentiis then asked Kidman, “Nicole, have you made meatballs or anything?” while trying to instruct her. Kidman turned slightly away and put her hand up to De Laurentiis, saying it was a “family-friendly” program.
De Laurentiis later criticized DeGeneres’ attempt at an arancini ball, saying it looked “like dog food.” She then looked at Kidman’s, exclaiming, “Oh my God, the woman who can’t cook made the perfect ball!”
DeGeneres tried some of De Laurentiis’ pre-cooked focaccia pizza later during the segment and winced.
“Why do I even do a cooking segment? I don’t even know why I bother,” De Laurentiis said, smiling.
Kidman went on to try the pre-cooked pizza, calling it “a little tough.”
De Laurentiis laughed and said, “Nicole, it’s been sitting there for like five hours! I hate doing these things for that reason.”
Kidman eventually spit the food out of her mouth.
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