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Giada DeLaurentiis Heats up Norwalk

Giada DeLaurentiis makes most things look effortless. That goes double for everything she does in the kitchen. And her abilities are further complemented by her easy charm and affable manner, which explains why her Food Network and Cooking Channel shows are such mega-hits, and why she has a large and loyal following.

But what is she like behind the scenes? How does she spend her down time? What does her adorable almost four-year-old daughter, Jade, like to eat? And how does she make it all look so easy?

She's on the road now to celebrate the release of her latest book, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. I n advance of her March 28 Today Show appearance on NBC and same day book signing at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk, she graciously agreed to answer a few questions for our Fairfield County readers.

Meaghan Morelli: What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

Giada DeLaurentiis: Pancetta

MM: What's your best kept kitchen secret?

GDL: Lemons

MM: Do you cook to music? If so, what's on your cooking playlist?

GDL: Yes! Foster the People, Rihanna, The Temper Trap, Adele, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Kanye West

MM: If you're not cooking, who do you want in the kitchen?

GDL: My Aunt Raffy. She’s my inspiration.

MM: Lots of moms I know lament the fact that their kids are "picky eaters." Do you have any advice for moms who want to broaden their kids' palates?

GDL: Make it fun and get them involved. I like to do themes like “breakfast for dinner.”

MM: Does your daughter, Jade, have a favorite recipe of yours?

GDL: Wagon wheel pasta with pancetta and peas.

MM: What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?

GDL: I’m addicted to buttery, cheesy croutons and chocolate!

MM: If you weren't a chef, what do you think you would do instead?

GDL: I’d probably be in politics.

MM: When starting out in the culinary field, if you knew then what you know now – what would you change or do differently?

GDL: [I would have] been more secure in my abilities as a cook.

MM: If you could create the perfect day off, no work--including not tweeting – just Giada, what would that day be?

GDL: In bed with my daughter and husband, cuddling up and watching a movie together in front of the fire place. And enjoying a yummy bowl of Spaghetti alla Bolognese!

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