The Next Vegas Star: Giada De Laurentiis’ First Restaurant Set For May Opening
It’s officially less than two months until the grand debut of Giada De Laurentiis’ first-ever restaurant venture, Giada, set to shine at the prime corner of The Cromwell Las Vegas boutique hotel. Before the May 21 opening date, De Laurentiis has been spending plenty of time in Vegas, overseeing everything from construction and design (all her own ideas) to creating the anticipated menu. Two weeks before the premiere, she’s set to participate in Vegas Uncork’d—including a first-ever collaborative Master Series Dinner with Bobby Flay, held May 8 at Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace.
The culinary powerhouse graces the cover of the new “Vegas Player” magazine, (out today) and dishes about her time in Europe and why she and Las Vegas connected. Giada reveals she even got advice from her former boss, Wolfgang Puck. Puck is often touted as the chef responsible for creating the Las Vegas celebrity chef dining trend with the launch of Spago at The Forum Shops in 1993.
“More than advice from Wolfgang, I watched Wolfgang,” she tells Vegas Player. “I watched how he treated his staff. I watched how he tasted his food, how he was a part of every single thing that he did. He was his own brand manager, and I find that is crucial. You need to have a say in everything you put your name on.”
Here are five more insights from the revealing cover story:
She’s not just lending her name
“When you start from ground zero, your hands are in everything. I believe I need to be a part of every move— at least I try to be. I’m not one of those chefs who will just walk into the restaurant the week before it opens. I’m going to be there every step of the way. I’m not saying I’m reinventing the Italian wheel. There are some really great restaurants here in Las Vegas, but they don’t have my touch. My touch is different. And I’m a perfectionist, sometimes to a fault…”
Expect Italian-style sharing and sampling at her Vegas restaurant
“I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. I’m trying to teach people that concept at Giada. They can taste everything, but they’re never going to feel extremely full. That’s truly how Italians eat. We don’t all get our own plate of pasta. We share. We nibble and taste everything. I want people to experience the menu by sharing a series of small plates.”
She was almost famous in a different industry
Because of her famous family, she says “I tried [show business] for a short time. Everybody in my family has to try it. I just never found my place. The place I felt the best was in the kitchen.”
…but the camera loved her too much
“I ran, but I couldn’t hide,” she said of declining the showbiz life only to have the Food Network knocking at her door years later. “It came full circle, but I didn’t mean for it to. I guess the camera found me, regardless. I truly believe I got to where I am today with a lot of hard work. But it was also timing: Stars aligned, and sometimes in life that’s what it takes. This was different than acting. I can be myself. I’m not sure I’m good at playing somebody else.”
Bright lights are hard to resist
After years and years of entertaining offers from all over, De Laurentiis says “The location was number one. [At The Cromwell] I was getting to build a restaurant from scratch on one of the most famous intersections in the world. I would have been a dummy to pass it up. Vegas is so much a part of my family. With my family in the movie business, it’s always been beautiful adventures—lights, camera, action. And there is no place on earth that has more lights, camera, action than Las Vegas.”