Giada De Laurentiis Says the Hardest Part About Meeting Fans Is ‘the Touching’

05/16/2016 at 11:47 AM ET

Giada De Laurentiis
Rob Kim/Getty

Giada De Laurentiis makes being a bubbly television personality look easy, but the Food Network star says it still comes as a challenge even after all these years.

“I am an anti social human being,” De Laurentiis tells Bon Appétit on their latest podcast. “I do not like to be in big crowds of people at all.”

But by forcing herself to engage with “every single person” at her food festival appearances and at her Las Vegas restaurant, De Laurentiis says it helps her stand out from all the other chefs in the business.

RELATED: Giada de Laurentiis Eats Her Spaghetti with Melted Chocolate and Now We Need to Try That

“I will say that I enjoy seeing the smiles on people’s faces and I enjoy their stories,” she says. “I think their stories and the sheer fact that they love food and they’re willing to spend their time and hard-earned money in a venue like that, I’m thankful for so that is why I do it…but it is not easy.”

For the self-proclaimed “very shy young lady,” the hardest part about meeting fans is “the touching.” De Laurentiis says at events like the Vegas Uncork’d festival—which she’s participated in for many years including last month—is where she’s run into this problem with maintaining  her personal space. 

“I don’t know that they touch Gordon Ramsay or Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] as much as they like to hug and touch me. And you know, in a venue like that where people drink a lot and all their inhibitions are sort of gone, that’s where it gets a little tricky,” she says. “But otherwise I’m always so surprised and shocked to be in the company of these people—both the fans and chefs—that that’s my way of saying thank you.”

The Food Network Star judge also told the magazine about a meeting she had with an editor for her first cookbook in 2005. The editor doubted she would sell more than 10,000 copies but De Laurentiis was determined to prove her wrong.

RELATED: Giada De Laurentiis on Overcoming Challenges Post-Divorce: ‘It’s About Believing in Yourself’

“She said to me, ‘Just so we’re clear here, you’re never going to sell as many books as Ina Garten.’ And I said, ‘Watch me,'” De Laurentiis recalls. “Lo and behold, I sure did, and we did not have enough books on my first book tour because we sold out on presales. So I went on a book tour and signed Bobby Flay’s cookbook and Ina Garten’s cookbook and Rachael Ray’s cookbooks but I didn’t have any books to sign—and then that all changed.”

—Ana Calderone, @anacalderone

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Craf on

She is definitely a snob but some people are duty, have lice, scabies, etc. so I won’t hold it against her. Pun intended.

A Social on

She’s not really anti-social, she’s a social, it measures on the agoraphobia spectrum–fear of crowds, open spaces etc.. Anti-social is intentionally causing harm to others it is a DSM V classified disorder; she is just afraid of or uncomfortable with large crowds.

guest on

she is a control freak & no wonder she cannot stay with any man OR allow someone to touch her. Can’t stand her or anything she does so she will never see a dime of my $ ever.

Rolyat on

Never liked her. Try using your own name and not your mothers madden name.

WonderWoman on

Be grateful you even have any fans.
They are the ones who make you great.

Scru you lady on

Not a flattering article at all. Total bih.

Anonymous on

I don’t see the reason in touching a star, they are made of flesh and blood just as every human is. Once again treat others with respect, keep your hands and feet to yourself, touching the rich or famous does not rub off on you

guest on

This does make her out to be a bit of a snob. I hope nobody shows up at her next signing so she won’t have to worry about being touched.

I Try on

I really do like Giada, but it drives me bonkers that she is apparently incapable of wearing a top that doesn’t leave her boobs hanging out. We all get it — you have big breasts!

Sandra on

What a SNOB. Maybe you should have not chosen this profession. I solemnly swear to boycott this dumb broad forever. I agree with the anonymous that everyone should be treated with respect, but give me a break. You write cookbooks for a living. You are a FOOD NETWORK star! You chose this profession. What the heck did you expect being in the public eye? Do her a favor and fire her. Then she wont be so uncomfortable when her fans react to her lousy meet and greets. Besides I am sure there are plenty of others that would much rather appreciate and respect the lime light that surrounds her.

Go away on

So in other words…..she’ll tolerate the “people”….as long as they’re buying her crap. A few more years and she’ll look like an old Italian Grandma….menopause will not be kind, and it’s only a year or two out!

reb on

Oh great…another unappreciative Justin Beiber.

Kate on

An aging “cook” afraid of crowds and being “touched”…..time to retire then.

Iris on

This bobble headed b doesn’t seem to have a problem with Bobby Flay touching her.
Disingenuous skank.

Sue on

To the one mentioning her use of her mother’s maiden name, perhaps if you knew what her father did to her and the hell she went through, you wouldn’t judge her for not wanting to use that monster’s name. I respect her for coming through what she did to become a success in her own right.

Just Saying on

Can’t blame her. Who would want the general public just touching them?

lola on

Can’t say I blame her! She’s not talking about 10 – 20 people,, it more like thousands. Eww!! Too much. And just because you buy her cookbook or watch her show doesn’t mean she owes you anything more than a smile and maybe an autograph, but that is it. Keep your paws to yourself.

Anonymous on

I can’t stand this woman with her toothy smile and the books out of every outfit go away!

guest on

All those people calling her a snob, do you like total strangers coming up and touching you? It’s a safe bet the answer is no. I don’t care if she profits from people buying her cookbook. They are buying a product that she produced, not access to her body/personal space. Ridiculous.

Anonymous on

I respect her honesty about the touching. It’s a personal thing. But overall, the more I see her, read her interviews, the less I like her. Stopped watching her show long ago. She’d rave about a recipe being decadent and self-indulgent because it had two teaspoons of sugar in it. Never got a comfy, friend to friend vibe from her, but we’re all products of our experiences as I’m sure she is of hers.

Tina on

She doesn’t seem anti social at all. Obviously she’s a bit of a germaphobe and yes I agree she’s a snob too. And yes, I was being nice about the germaphobe thing lol

ugh this again on

What a tough crowd you commenters are. You don’t know what a person has been through in life. Some people have good reasons for not wanting to be touched, especially by drunk strangers. Have some sympathy and understanding. She is a human being not a shopping mall Santa.