This weekend I had one of the most AMAZING experiences as I got to meet, by far, my favorite chef and writer who everyone knows from The Food Network: Giada de Laurentiis! This amazing chef, recently wrote a new book, "Weekends with Giada" and was on tour doing book signings all over the country! I am a fan of her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/giada?ref=ts) and had originally seen a post about how she was doing a singing in Washington, when I thought, "HMMM! I should check if she is coming to Arizona as well," and sure enough, one of her destinations for the month of April was one in AZ!!! (http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/) I proceeded to ask my mom if she would like to attend this book signing with me, and she agreed, so we both went, and let me tell you, I am SO glad that I didn't hesitate in making my decision to go because it was an event that I will remember forever!
The book signing was held at Sur de Table (http://www.surlatable.com/) in Scottsdale, AZ at 11:30am on April 29, 2012. It was divided into two parts, a Q&A session and then the actual book signing. So first, a little bit about the Q&A session. When Giada first walked to the area where the Q&A session was being held, everyone started cheering and rose from their seats to give her a warm welcome! The first statement she made was how she was very excited to be in AZ, in the sunshine, especially after being in the rainy weather of CA. She then stated how listening to her talk would get boring for all of us and immediately opened up the floor to others to ask questions to get to know a little bit more about her. There were SO MANY people who had attended and in my opinion, everyone asked Giada some very interesting questions! These questions ranged from things about what her favorite cookware was, to questions about her daughter, all the way to questions about the upcoming season of The Next Food Network Star. I'll just go through a few of the questions that I remember in great detail and explicate Giada's answers to each, and of course, as can been seen throughout the post, I've added some pictures from this portion of the event!
One of the first people to speak I remember was, a man. He told Giada that he was 23 years old and was done with college but was not sure what he was going to do now. He continued on to ask her how she had decided that she wanted to be a chef and asked what advice she had for him for the future. Her response was very heart-felt because she went on to describe the structure of her family and stated how, because she was an Italian female, there was not a whole lot of restraint that was put on her in terms of what she could do in the future. She was not very intimidated, but her family was worried at the time of her original decision because she is a very petite woman who was going to go into an industry that was dominated by big, strong men. She said she followed her heart and it has brought her to where she is now because of it! Well, good thing she had the confidence to do what she did because she has now become an inspiration to many aspiring chefs!
And so, speaking of aspiring chefs, there was a woman who attended that day for her 18 year old granddaughter. She had a chance to speak with Giada and had brought a letter from her granddaughter whose biggest inspiration is Giada. She told a VERY heart warming story and at the time, Giada was at a loss of words and very touched by the moment. She proceeded to approach the woman, sign her book, on the spot, and gave the woman a hug prior to continuing the Q&A session.
Another question that someone asked was with regards to Giada's daughter, Jade. That woman asked Giada, "what advice do you plan on giving your daughter as she is growing up and what kind of life lessons will you teach her?" Giada had to think about this for a moment and responded, "Well, thank goodness Jade is only 3 because this is a deep question!" --- Her response, in general, was that she plans on telling Jade to not limit herself in anything and to go forth with her dreams. She stated how, it is the case that most men already have built-in confidence and know what they are capable of, but in many cases (too many cases), women limit themselves due to a lack of confidence. So, with a daily reminder, she hopes to instill and enforce the confidence for the future, for Jade.
In addition to this, there were many more questions and the whole Q&A session lasted for about 45 minutes. I thought that Giada talked very passionately about her daughter and her family as well as her work. I'm so glad that now, I feel like I "know" a little bit more about a tv personality that I am quite fond of watching. It's easy to watch a tv show and formulate ideas about how you think a person is, but it's nice to know get a conformation on how that person is in real-life!
And finally, I have to add one more picture to this section because it was probably my favorite of the morning. There was a little girl who ran by, just in front of the stage that Giada was seated at, and waved. Giada looked at her and smiled ... it was a very sweet moment!
Okay so now on to the book singing part of the post! Below is my copy of "Weeknights with Giada" so you all know what it looks like:
The actual book signing was sadly very quick and the line was completely hectic so I didn't get a chance to say a whole lot to Giada as I was getting my book signed. I told her that I was very excited to meet her and thanked her for taking the time to come visit Arizona! Unfortunately, Giada was not posing for pictures during the signing, so I just snagged a picture of her signing my book! :o)
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is how it looks:
Can you say, SO SO SO EXCITED?! Yes, indeed,I am!
In conclusion, I just want to add that this is such a unique book because it is filled with wonderful recipes including those for appetizers (soups and salads as well as bruschettas), lunch (sandwiches & pizzas), dinner (pastas & grains along with meat, poultry, & fish), desserts, and a few added extras such as breakfast for dinner! If you haven't gotten your copy yet, I would definitely recommend that you do so because it is a GREAT buy! I already have bookmarked many recipes that I'm planning to try out!!
AND because I'm a big fan of my fans, you all, I'm going to include a simple recipe from the book that instantly caught my eye when I was flipping through it. Let me know if you try it out and how it goes!!!
The above pictures and thoughts are my own. All that is included below this was taken directly from the book and is not my personal writing.
CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT DROP COOKIES
Similar to my family's Italian wedding cookies (which are a lot like the Mexican kind), these drop cookies get their flavor from the smooth velvety combination of melted chocolate and hazelnuts -- also known as gianduja. This is the stuff that makes my mouth water and brings me back to my childhood. Just as with chocolate chip cookies, some people like theirs soft and other people like them crispy. For softer cookies, bake them for ten minutes; for firmer ones, give them a full twelve minutes in the oven.
Makes 36 cookies.
What you'll need:
What you'll need:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread such as Nutella, at room temperature
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three baking sheets with parchment.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1/4 cup of sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With the machine running on low speed, gradually add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Beat in the chocolate-hazelnut spread.
Roll the dough into 36 (1 1/2 inch) balls and place 12 balls on each baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies flatten out slightly. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely for about 30 minutes.
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. In batches, roll the cookies in the sugar until coated. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.