Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis has a lot of touching encounters with fans – and we don’t mean they’re emotionally moving. The bombshell behind the stove tells us fans who show up at her Giada restaurant in Las Vegas tend to be hands-on, which has taken some getting used to.
“For sure [fans want to get close],” says the Food Network star. “It’s the only place that people expect to see me and sort of be able to touch my brand. I wish I could say no touchy-touchy, but it doesn’t work that way.”
Being a woman in a male-dominated world makes her a more inviting target for mobs of affectionate fans, the Italian-born chef figures.
“Since I am a female chef they are a little less intimidated to come up to me, and secondly they just want to thank you for what we do,” she said at the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting Event at Caesars Palace, where she appeared alongside fellow star chefs Bobby Flay (with whom De Laurentiis has been romantically linked), Gordon Ramsay, Guy Savoy and Michael Mina.
De Laurentiis says it’s easy to be overwhelmed by excited followers, and notes that in the past the business of being a celebrity made her “uneasy.” But she says she’s coming to terms with her fame.
“I am becoming more comfortable being myself in my own skin and I think that happens with anybody as we get older. We get older and we get more comfortable.”
The regular Today show co-host is soon to broaden her profile even further: Variety reports that the Food Network has ordered up a new series, “Giada’s Summer Entertaining,” as well as new episodes of her shows “Giada Entertains” and “Giada’s Holiday Handbook.”
She’s also working on a second restaurant at Caesar’s Palace Casino, which she hopes to open by year’s end.
“We’re on our third year [in Vegas] and I wanted to do something a little more casual for anybody who can’t do the fine dining thing, sort of as an introduction to my food, so I think this will be a really great opportunity to do that.”