Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Giada de Laurentiis
Everyday Italian

Authentic Italian cuisine simplified to fit the modern, fast-paced lifestyle of a young, vivacious wife, mother, and entrepreneur whose flawless features and voluminous golden hair raise doubts about her culinary prowess. Yes, I am talking about Giada de Laurentiis and her fabulous show, Everyday Italian.

From the energetic and encouraging introductions to the high-definition, vibrant stills of the prepared dishes, this cooking show has successfully set itself apart in the industry of cooking shows. To add to the modern yet authentic vibe of the show, Giada throws in a heavy Italian accent whenever discussing ingredients while she whirls around her fashionable, contemporary kitchen in figure-flattering outfits flashing your startling blue eyes at the camera on occasion.

The success of the show comes from the element of simplicity in the dishes, without the loss of sophistication, unlike its counterpart, 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray. Rachel Ray approaches the audience as an equally unskilled cook who somehow manages to maneuver her way through the kitchen by tips and tricks she picked up over the years in her time among the professionals. Her abbreviations and New York accent make her unrefined yet agreeable. Her techniques, or lack thereof, are generally nontraditional and somewhat haphazard. Giada on the other hand, calls upon her professional background in both explanation and technique, yet she is thorough in every description, pleasant, and through her charm and warmth, inviting and encouraging.

The episodes are always cleanly laid out, beginning with a personal introduction to the dish by Giada, followed by a visual feast of the dish that is going to be made during the episode. The cooking session of the episode is always very calm, accompanied by light, upbeat music and little background noise beyond the sizzling of the oil, and of course, Giada’s soothing voice. The set is always kept exceptionally clean, cast in soft sunlight and accented by a neutral color palette.

The conclusion of the typical episode really drives home the main theme of this series, which is that dining and entertaining can be both easy and impressive, but more importantly, fun and worthwhile. Laughing, talking, smiling and generally having a good time, the crowd always seems impressed by the food and content with the company, a situation created by the meal that was just prepared.
This cooking show is effective in inspiring the audience to create their own good memories by cooking and entertaining. The choice of host, setting, music, and camera angles all attempt to maintain sophistication despite obvious simplification.