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If you order pasta at Giada De Laurentiis‘ soon-to-open Las Vegas restaurant, don’t be surprised to see the waiter lug a massive wheel of Parmesan cheese to your table.
Finishing dishes tableside — such as shaving cheese over your pasta plate — is just one of the elaborate touches the popular TV chef is cooking up for the Italian-themed Giada, her first restaurant. The spot is scheduled to open in the Cromwell Hotel on the Vegas Strip in May.
“I’m trying to take my recipes and create a sort of a show with them,” De Laurentiis tells PEOPLE, after returning from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Sunday. Another example: her signature chicken cacciatore for two, presented tableside in a cast-iron skillet before being whisked back to the kitchen for carving.
“With Italian restaurants everywhere [in Vegas], I need to find a way to make [mine] all my own,” she tells PEOPLE. “So I’m finding some unique and fun ways to create not just great ambiance and food, but a fun show. Because there’s no place like Vegas, and you can’t do [that] anywhere else but Vegas.”
The Everyday Italian star says she’s been “eating a lot more food” than usual due to restaurant tastings, but has taken up boxing to stay in shape. “It not only helps with stress [but] really tones you and makes you sweat faster than anything else,” she says.
That’s good to know if you plan to dig into her restaurant’s dessert offerings — a course often overlooked by Sin City diners, she notes.
“I am going to do a dessert cart,” she says. “I’m building these beautiful pink-and-gold carts to stroll through the restaurant. We can do all sorts of flambés and fun stuff that people can see, and then it becomes a show and people want it to come to their table and they will order dessert.”
She adds: “That is my [goal]—to not allow people leave without a bit of sweetness in their life.”
—Nancy Mattia, with reporting by Brittany Talarico