I had the chance to spend a few minutes with Giada de Laurentiis at Taste of Chicago yesterday courtesy of Bella Sera Wines. She’s been a representative of the wine company for two years, and sees the biggest part of her job as creating a demand for good wine and good food. When people understand quality and learn to ask for it from retailers and grocery stores, then you see a shift in availability of everything from ethnic to organic food and wine as well as a decrease in price. It’s the “vote with your dollars” argument that we’ve heard extolled from everyone at the Family Farmed Expo and Gary Hirshberg.
We did drift a little off-topic in the interview, and I was able to ask her if that’s her real kitchen in the show. It’s not. The kitchen is based on hers (right down to the artwork), but it would not be possible to actually film in her home. Where did she plan to eat? The recent stormfront prevented her from hitting the Girl and the Goat, so she won’t get a chance this trip to try places. And her favorite restaurant? She wouldn’t say, but when she’s in town, she can’t resist a steak from R.L.
By the way, kudos to the Chicago Park District for bringing in an interesting mix of national and local talent to Taste of Chicago this year. Access to great chefs and food is one of the things that will continue to make Chicago known as a culinary mecca. Here are more chef photos from this week’s cooking demos: