Once upon a time, the chef’s place was limited to the kitchen or the cookbook. Then, The Food Network debuted in 1993 and changed the entire game by granting us regular folks with unprecedented access to these once behind the scenes stars. Now in over 100 million homes, we have them to thank for introducing us to the now common household phrases like Rachael Ray’s "EVOO" and Emeril Lagasse’s "BAM." Two of those TV stars that influence us in the kitchen also happen to be pretty great friends, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
Bobby Flay worked hard to get where he is today. Becoming a head chef at the ripe young age of 20, he went on to open his first restaurant at just 26 years old. He made his Food Network debut in 1994 and hasn’t looked back, going on to host dozens of cooking series, specials, and eventually becoming the first chef to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not far behind him, Giada De Laurentiis, a once aspiring food stylist, was rising up the ranks in the American restaurant scene holding positions in several notable Los Angeles restaurants. She made her Food Network debut in 2003 with Everyday Italian and has gone on to host several more shows and become a fixture of the network. What happens when you mix business with pleasure? Let’s peel the curtain back and share what you need to know about Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay’s relationship.
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay met in Philadelphia in the early 2000s
Bobby Flay was already a well-established Food Network star and restauranteur when Giada De Laurentiis came around to make her debut on the scene. According to People, the pair’s first encounter was not on a set, but rather at a food expo in Philadelphia in 2004. She was drawn to not only the chef’s talents but his attitude towards family and friends. She explains: "I think that Bobby is one of those people that if you are his friend, he has your back forever and he will stand up for you. He’s one of those guys you can call in a pinch and he will get you out of it. He’s special in that sense."
Their friendship struck up instantly and felt natural to both of them. They would eventually go on to work together professionally with their first on-camera appearance together on the smash hit Iron Chef America. Their on-camera chemistry is palpable and that would be the first of many collaborations together at the network.
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay have been friends since the early days of their careers
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay may have gone on to amass restaurant, book, and television empires with dozens of network shows and restaurants in Las Vegas and beyond, but becoming engaging on-camera personalities was something they both had to work towards. During a panel at the New York City Food & Wine Festival, the two Food Network stars exuded confidence but were quick to admit that wasn’t always the case.
During the conversation, the two admitted that if they had competed on Food Network Star in the early days of their careers, they would have likely failed at the often cutthroat competition. These two now effortless media mavens developed their chops together and that could attest for such a longstanding relationship both professionally and personally. Almost 20 years together at the Food Network suits them both well and we can’t wait to see what they cook up in the future.
Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay’s relationship isn’t limited to just on-camera
Even with the many successes throughout their careers, there have been some failures in the personal department for each of the stars. Bobby Flay himself has gone through three marriages that ultimately ended up in divorce, while De Laurentiis herself has had quite a rocky love life. When the cameras stop rolling, the good pals can be often spotted out together.
According to People, just days before De Laurentiis was announcing a split from her then 11 year-long marriage to Todd Thompson, she leaned on her good friend Bobby Flay. The two were spotted dining at the private Soho Beach House in Miami after working together at an event. Onlookers commented on the fun nature of the dinner and noted that the drinks and good times were flowing. Giada De Laurentiis has since been linked up to television producer Shane Farley, but she and Bobby Flay always seem to make time for each other.
Giada De Laurentiis didn’t speak to Bobby Flay for 8 months
It can’t be all sunshine and lollipops! Cue the D-R-A-M-A. In 2006, while Bobby Flay was already an established television personality, Giada De Laurentiis was earning her keep and perfecting her skills both on and off the camera. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis were paired up to compete against superstar duo Rachael Ray and Mario Batali on Iron Chef America. Flay and De Laurentiis very publicly lost the battle. While Flay brushed it off as a good laugh, De Laurentiis was taking things very seriously. She had something to prove to not only herself, but the network as well. Because of Bobby’s lackadaisical approach to the fiasco, the two didn’t speak for over eight months. Yep, straight radio silence.
In a podcast interview with Beyond The Plate (via People), De Laurentiis explained: "I thought, you know, I took this very seriously. It was a very big show, especially at that time, and I’ve cooked, I’ve gone to culinary school, I worked on my own dish all by myself and I felt like he sort of half-assed it. It was just TV to him. I took it very seriously." They’ve since patched things up but it’s still a sore subject for the Italian-born chef who isn’t afraid to bring it up.
Romantic rumors have followed Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay for years
It’s clear that Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have spent a fair amount of their lives in the headlines thanks to their careers. It has also been suggested many times that the two are romantically linked (perhaps thanks to a photo of them holding hands and getting cozy with one another). Then, when photos surfaced of De Laurentiis partying gleefully with Flay just days before her divorce announcement, the internet went into a frenzy accusing her of having an affair with Bobby.
She has denied all rumors and set the record straight on an appearance of Watch What Happens Live. She told host Andy Cohen, "we do get together on Food Network Star. Well, we’re really good friends. We’ve worked for many years together, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen because I’m smarter than that." What sounded like a bit of a dig to Flay is actually her own personal romance philosophy of never dating a fellow chef. While we’re certainly unashamedly rooting for Bobby + Giada 4eva, it’s pretty clear we may never see our hopes come to fruition.
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are fixtures on the Food Network
The star powers of Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis know no bounds. Their Food Network careers include their own fronted programming, the role of judges on competition series, network specials, and even co-hosting together 14 seasons of Food Network Star. Giada De Laurentiis debuted on the Food Network in 2003 with her own daytime cooking show, Everyday Italian. She has gone on to front Behind The Bash, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, and Giada in Paradise. Her series, Giada Entertains, earned the chef some serious street cred in the form of two Daytime Emmy Awards, one for Outstanding Culinary Series and Outstanding Culinary Host.
Flay has hosted a record 16 cooking show for the Food Network and Cooking Channel, including his first taste of fame in his own show, Hot Off The Grill with Bobby Flay. He’s gone on to host the fan favorite Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, Beat Bobby Flay, as well as serving as a judge and occasional competitor on The Next Iron Chef. While they certainly each hold their own in the hosting department, their chemistry comes together in perfect harmony on Food Network Star. They could be credited with assistance in launching the careers of several now well-known chefs, including season two winner and self-proclaimed Mayor of Flavortown, Guy Fieri.
They have co-hosted Food Network Star for 14 seasons together
Who better than two of the most well-known and successful food personalities to head up a nationwide search for Food Network’s next famous fresh face? Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis rose to the challenge and have served as hosts and mentors for 14 seasons of Food Network’s smash competition series, Food Network Star. The grueling 11 weeks of competition is a once in a lifetime shot to become part of the network’s selective catalog of personalities. The show has produced budding stars Jeff Mauro who went on to host $24 in 24, Adam Gertler of Will Work For Food, and of course, mega personality, Guy Fieri, who has since built a restaurant and television empire of his own with Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and his fast casual chicken concept, Chicken Guy.
Bobby Flay explained to People just what it takes and what they are looking for. He said: "The next Food Network Star has to be super dynamic. They have to blend education and entertainment. Like-ability is 99 percent of this."
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis playfully banter often on social media
When they’re not busy in front of the camera or in their restaurants, the two have often playfully bantered back and forth on social media, further igniting the rumors of potential romantic involvement. Kidding aside, most of their interactions are in support of one another’s ventures in the food world. What’s a friend if they aren’t there to cheer you on?
The 2019 New York Times Bestseller Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen offers fans a glimpse into Flay’s no-nonsense style of cooking for his family and friends while sharing recipes he’s tweaked over the years and sage advice for the aspiring home chef. Bobby Flay’s gal pal was there to root him on and happy to spread the word to her Instagram community of almost 2 million fans. She even admitted in an Instagram post that Flay’s recipe for Calabrian Chili crap spaghetti was so good that it rivaled hers.
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis ate their way through Italy together
We can’t think of anything better than the opportunity to travel and indulge in local delicacies with your BFF. Fans were all abuzz last fall when Bobby and Giada were filling up our social media timelines with photos of them traveling together in her native country, Italy. Potential romantic rendezvous for the long-rumored lovers? Sadly, no scandals here.
According to People, the pair were spotted sipping on Chinotto soda and scarfing down Porchetta sandwiches all in the name of research. It turned out this was actually a work trip for an upcoming project the two were collaborating on together. The two also dined on a whole roasted fish and some pretty amazing looking tagliolini cacio e pepe with chicory from Nonna Betta, a Kosher Italian eatery. No Lady & The Tramp style photo opps here. We’re still waiting on an official announcement of the yet to be revealed project but we’re ready to gobble it down quicker than a slice of Roman style pizza.
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis don’t agree on what it takes to do their jobs
Even longtime friends will eventually find something to argue about. What’s interesting about Bobby Flay’s and Giada De Laurentiis’ disagreement is that it’s all about something you’d think they’d be able to agree on: what it takes to be a television chef.
Their debate is a sort of chicken-or-egg situation, one they discussed in an interview with The New York Times. The point of contention centers around what innate ability a person needs to have to be a good television chef, specifically whether it’s culinary skills or an on-air persona that makes for the best TV chef. "If you can cook, if you have the authority, if you have the knowledge, if you have the experience, if you’re a really good cook then I can teach you how to do television over time," Flay said.
His Food Network colleague, however, sees things differently. "I don’t think you can teach someone how to be dynamic on television. I think you can polish them to be better at their craft," De Laurentiis claimed. "I do think you need to have the basics of cooking. But again, I think I can teach someone cooking skills more than I can teach them TV skills […] I think you need to have some dynamic spark and I think that’s hard to teach."
At least they’ll have something to debate over their coming years of friendship.
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have a new show together
We know Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis ate their way through Italy last year and now we understand what sent them on this European culinary retreat. It turns out the duo was filming a new food show for Discovery’s streaming service discovery+.
The show, Bobby and Giada in Italy, which premiered in January, follows the dynamic duo on their six-week journey through the country’s famous towns and regions, including big cities like Rome and visually stunning, food-rich regions such as Tuscany. Along the way, Flay and De Laurentiis got to experience Italy’s most famous meals and ingredients, including gelato, Pecorino cheese, Rome’s famous four kinds of pasta (Carbonara, Amatriciana, Gricia, and Cacio e Pepe, according to Cook’s Illustrated), and of course, as much pizza as they could consume.
The trip was a homecoming of sorts for both famous chefs. Giada De Laurentiis was born in Rome, while Food Network reports that Bobby Flay relocated to Italy several years ago to experience firsthand all the country has to offer.
Giada De Laurentiis’ boyfriend has a connection to Bobby Flay
Fans of Giada De Laurentiis likely already know that she has been dating producer Shane Farley since 2015. What most people might not know is that Farley also has a connection to Bobby Flay.
In 2013, Farley was hired to produce a talk show for De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay, People reports. Unfortunately, the project never came to fruition, but it wasn’t a complete loss. During the process of trying to put the show together, De Laurentiis and Farley began a relationship, one that continues to this day.
"After I got divorced, I spent about a year and a half alone, not dating, just figuring things out. I had been with [my daughter] Jade’s dad for 25 years. I didn’t know what it meant to not be married," she told People. "Once I got settled, [Shane and I] reconnected and I felt like a kid again."