Who cares if she can cook?
After reading this bought-and-paid-for piece of public relations drivel today, we at ELV thought the record ought to be set straight about why restaurants like Giada’s should be approached gingerly, if at all, and always with a sense of healthy skepticism about what is really going on.
So, let’s go over the 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Line Up to Eat at Giada’s New Restaurant:
3) She’s not a restaurateur or a restaurant chef.
4) She’s not running the restaurant.
5) She doesn’t own the restaurant.
7) There’s lots of Italian food in town you don’t have to humiliate yourself for.
Shall we elaborate? Why not?
To begin with, Giada De Laurentiis is a brand. A brand carefully calculated to extract the maximum amount of dollars off the credulous public.
She isn’t a restaurateur and has never owned one.
She still doesn’t own one. (see below)
(One also questions her bona fides about having worked in restaurant kitchens, since, as a child of celebrity, we think she hardly was slaving away to make a living.)
ELV (being himself to the menu born) appreciates how Giada has had to pull herself up by her bootstraps to make it in this cold cruel world. We understand that the demands of being married to a famous designer, and having a famous grandfather, and actor/producer parents and having people throw themselves at your feet because of your lobster arancini can be a trying, difficult existence.
We also understand that having a big hotel like Caesars throw millions of dollars at you in order to capitalize on your celebrity can be arduous. (We asked Caesars how much they paid her to use her name and received no response.)
Everyone in town knows the drill by now: big name chef or celeb gets courted, paid anywhere from 1-5 mil, and has the casino build out everything for them and operate the restaurant with its employees. After the initial press blitz, they then waltz in for photo ops 3-4 times a year (as obligated by contract) and to impress the beggars at the banquet, i.e. the local press.
Make no mistake — Giada and her money men have no skin in this game. Neither does Gordon Ramsay. Same is true for all of the celeb joints at Caesars and MGM properties. Venetian/Palazzo restaurants are different, as they are just like tenants in a mall — with the mall owner, i.e. the casino being a partner and taking a share of the proceeds.
(FYI: We also asked Caesars what the deal was with Giada, and, as usual, they declined to comment — for fear, no doubt, that if anyone looks behind the curtain, all they’ll see is a bunch of union cooks, instead of anyone associated with the “celebrity” they’re paying through the nose to use as a brand name.)
So, to recap, you have a food “personality” who licenses her name to a casino, who will pretend she’s a hands-on operator, when, in fact, all she’s there to do is make p.r. appearances, pose for pictures, and try to convince the gullible tourists that she’s actually involved in something in which she is not.
On the plus side, we’re sure she’s a lovely person who deserves all the fame and fortune that comes her way. But, as former Texas Governor Ann Richards said about George Bush Jr.: “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking little Miss De Laurentiis — born amidst melted chocolate and whipped egg whites — has actually baked (or is baking) the whole soufflé.
And don’t forget for one second that if she wasn’t good looking — with an accent that can melt butter and a jaw line that could cut Parmigiano-Reggiano — no one would give a tinker’s dam about her family recipes.
* Eating Las Vegas has nothing against celebrity chefs, but invariably, the ones famous for being chefs before they become celebrities bring more to the party; cf. every famous French chef on the planet.