|Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis signing books after her talk|
Last weekend Food and Wine magazine and the Los Angeles Times put on The Taste LA, a four-day food festival packed with stylish small plates, festive wines and star-studded celebrity chefs. Of course, the very smart producers saved the most popular chef for last: Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis, whose Q&A with LA Times associate food editor Rene Lynch closed the place down.
I'm seeing a pattern with these celebrity chefs: strong personality, sparkling smile, supreme patience. Rene only got in a few questions because the adoring fans packed into the sweaty tent had plenty of their own. Twice Giada was asked how she stays so thin when she's always around food ("Portion control. Exercise. Genetics"). She got questions about her favorite recipe ("Lemon spaghetti"), her future travels (Bora Bora for the next season of Giada in Paradise), her future as an Iron Chef ("They keep asking, but no - once was enough"). She mentioned her preschool daughter Jade at least a half-dozen times. At the end of the hour, with security detail standing by, she signed books and posed for photos, all with that same huge smile.
Someone in the audience had asked whether Giada follows food blogs. "I don't," she said remorsefully. "But I should. I want to." I don't need more of a hint than that. As she came off the stage I introduced myself, handed her my card and said "That's for your blog reading list." She thanked me and bent down to take a picture with my son Emery.
|My 12-year-old gourmand son Emery with Giada De Laurentiis - have you ever seen a happier kid?|
As Giada stood up, I threw out a question: "So what do you pack in Jade's lunchbox?" I thought she'd give an off-the-cuff response and keep moving, which her security guys clearly would have preferred. But she stopped and looked at me. Feeding her family: This is a topic she cares about, thinks about. "Lamb chops," she said. Lamb chops? I was trying to picture a three-year-old pulling that out of her lunchbox at school and must have looked puzzled.
Giada elaborated. "What I do," she said, "is cook up a few proteins, a few vegetables, a few grains, and I keep those in the refrigerator. Then, when I'm making Jade's lunch, I cut up some meat and vegetables, heat them up in a pan with some of the grain or pasta, and top it with some grated cheese. Then I put it in one of those insulated thermos things. That's how I eat, so that's how she eats." And then, with her dazzling smile and security guards, she said goodbye and moved on.
The morals of this story:
- For bloggers: Never be afraid to ask your question. You might get blown off. Or you might have a real conversation. You'll have better luck if you ask about something you know they care about, rather than just something you care about.
- Carpe diem, baby.
- Spend the money on professional teeth-whitening. Sorry, Crest Whitestrips, but you can only take a girl so far.
- I might need to get slightly more ambitious when packing my kids' lunches.