I am not ashamed to admit that one of the initial reasons I was drawn to watching Giada de Laurentiis on the Food Network was because of her stunning good looks. However, I began to learn a lot of things by watching her shows (Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, Giada’s Weekend Getaway). Her appearances on “Next Food Network Star” totally made me want to try out for the show just for the opportunity to be mentored by her. A few things I have picked up from watching her shows: 1) How to make garlic bread from raw garlic cloves and butter, 2) NEVER break spaghetti noodles when boiling them–it’s an Italian cooking SIN, 3) Pasta water is great for thickening sauces and 4) Parmigiano Reggiano should always be in your fridge. I have also purchased kitchen items because I saw her using them: lockable tongs, flat & wide wooden spatula and an olive oil dispenser.

Many may criticize that the network is taking advantage of her looks and that she hardly knows anything about cooking (poo poo on them!). Well, she has consistently been one of the most popular chefs on the Food Network since not long after she first debuted and I seriously doubt she would have lasted this long if she didn’t know how to cook. Does she need to go around bragging that she graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris? How about the fact that she worked at the critically-acclaimed Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills owned by Wolfgang Puck? The answers are no and NO. Her resume speaks for itself. I love her because she has made dressed-up Italian cooking very approachable, simple and fun. I was positively bummed when I found out she wasn’t showing up at a taping of “Next Food Network Star” that my wife and I attended recently. Just my luck. Anyway, following are a bunch of behind-the-scenes clips and outtakes from “Giada at Home” that also show how much of a goofball she can be which, I also happen to love about her.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/giada-behind-the-scenes/40581.html