- Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis is originally from Rome, Italy, and she moved to the US with her family when she was a child.
- While in the US, De Laurentiis said she struggled to learn English, especially because her family only spoke Italian at home.
- The chef said that when she was in school, her Italian name and the Italian foods that she brought for lunch weren’t seen as cool by her classmates.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
With her warm personality and authentic, but simple Italian recipes, Giada De Laurentiis has become one of America’s most beloved chefs. But it wasn’t an easy road to success.
De Laurentiis said she had a difficult childhood, partly due to the fact that she and her family moved from Rome, Italy, to the US when she was only 7 years old.
Here are some of the biggest differences she noticed when adjusting to American culture.
De Laurentiis said she found it challenging to learn English
When De Laurentiis moved to California, she said she didn’t speak any English, which made it difficult for her to adjust. Plus, it didn’t help that her family only spoke Italian at home, De Laurentiis told Insider.
“My family takes their culture very seriously, so even when we moved to the US, we still lived very Italian lives,” De Laurentiis told Insider. “We spoke Italian at home, we only ate Italian food – and let me tell you, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, people were not as proud of their unique heritage as they are now.”
Since her family would only speak Italian to De Laurentiis, learning English was even more of a challenge and it caused her to have to repeat the first grade, per Hudson Mod magazine.
She said that when she was in school her Italian name and foods weren’t seen as cool by her classmates
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges De Laurentiis said she faced was feeling like an outcast at school just for being Italian. She said that when she was growing up it wasn’t popular to have an Italian name and to come from a different country.
“My different name and Italian food that I brought to school were not seen as cool by my classmates at the time,” De Laurentiis told Insider.
For her school lunches, De Laurentiis said she would bring things like spaghetti Bolognese or Nutella sandwiches and her classmates made fun of her for it.
Today, the celebrity chef said looking back on her experiences, she was glad for the way she was raised.
“Even though it was a tough transition, I’m glad now that my family took our culture so seriously – it’s something I embrace so deeply today,” De Laurentiis said.