Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Giada Underwhelms Oprah

Well, that was my impression anyway about Giada's appearance on Oprah yesterday. And I thought Giada did fine with the great Pooh-Bah herself. But Oprah definitely didn't have the same chemistry with Giada as with RR. After all, she gave Rachael her very own show.

Oprah WAS ever-gracious, though, complimenting Giada on her first dish - an "easy" appetizer to show Nate that even HE could cook. I don't think fiddling with coating food and frying it in lots of oil is necessarily the easiest thing she could have done, but Ms. Winfrey was impressed with the results, which was the important thing.

Giada moved on to a quick little appetizer with blue cheese - crostini with honey drizzled over. Oprah seemed a bit forlorn that the blue cheese didn't get melted over the bread. She was sure it looked like it had been cooked. Giada had to explain that O's hot lights made it look like that. Luckily, Oprah's a grownup and got over it.

But, oh my, this next thing WAS kinda bad. Giada made (WHY didn't she read my blog on this topic?!) her panini with brie, chocolate chips AND BASIL.

Giada, honey, I could have told you that the O-Mighty wasn't going to like it.

Oprah took a bite and her face froze, as she thought of something to say. She came out with "In-TER-Resss-Ting". And then, and THEN they brought out tastes for the audience and the ENTIRE audience was unmoved and silent.

Oprah asked if they had ever had anything like it before. The whole audience said NO collectively, signalling, I think, their intention NEVER to have anything like that again.

I understand that Giada was trying to bring something different to the table and Oprah even thanked her for allowing her to try something she would otherwise never have tried before. (Goodness knows, there was really nothing else to thank her for. I was impressed that Oprah thought of THAT.)

Anyway, I get that she wanted to do something interesting, but Giada's very first consideration should have been making something that TASTED fantastic! Because when Oprah tastes something she likes, SHE REALLY GOES TO TOWN TALKING ABOUT IT. Remember the restaurant she backed, because of the amazing sandwich she had?

I'm not sure what it says about Giada or what it says about Oprah or even us, for that matter, that Rachael Ray has had more success on Oprah than Giada. And, maybe, for all I know, no one else noticed that Oprah was a bit off. (And, NO, it had nothing to do with her thyroid condition. She simply didn't care for what Giada made and, so, was less than her usual enthusiastic self.)

I love Giada, but I hate brie with basil and chocolate chips. One thing I know for sure...don't bring a truckload of something iffy to the Queen of Talk and expect her and her audience to embrace you. They just want something GOOD...LIP-SMACKING GOOD.


Donny B said...

if you want to add herbs to a chocolate panini, wouldn't the obvious choice be mint anyway? Maybe mint and brie don't work. i don't know. i can't believe that's the recipe she chose when going on Oprah. maybe she's thrown off by her pregnancy hormones?

Sue said...

The mint IS a good idea, but I'm not sure if it's the BASIL and Chocolate that bothers me as much as the BRIE and chocolate. Whatever, it's awful.

Yeah, maybe it's the preganancy thing...people sometimes even eat dirt...

PDM said...

I just love your blog! I don't even have to watch Food Network TV anymore, since your write-ups give me detailed info and cut right through the crap. I'm laughing out loud at your description of Oprah's reaction to the chocolate-brie-basil pannini.

Emiline said...

Brie doesn't need anything. It's perfect.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God, how can Giada waste an opportunity to impress Oprah is beyond me!!! What an idiot! She is not very nice either so maybe this is karma getting back at her.

Sue said...


Welcome. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, Oprah was priceless.


I love brie too. Giada was just misguided.


Now, now...if Oprah didn't get outraged, we shouldn't. I know Giada was trying to do something that people would talk about. Obviously, she didn't realize HOW people were going to talk about it.

I do think it was a bit of a wasted opportunity. But maybe Oprah will say to herself that Giada was bold, she was beautiful and it's not her fault that she made a sandwich that looked like grass clippings mixed with cow droppings.

How is Giada not nice? Do tell.

jorty said...

I was embarrassed for Giada. It was awkward to watch. I love O, but this whole segment was a mess. Even when the stove wasn't on and O was "correcting" Giada saying the oil's not hot enough.
And I don't get the whole brie, basil, chocolate chip thing. Not a smart recipe to bring out for your first visit, G.

Anonymous said...

I just might be the only person alive that thinks sourdough bread, brie, chocolate chips and basil sound good together. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones but I am seriously thinking about making this tonight! haha

Sue said...


I love your attention to detail. Yes, you're right. I overlooked the stove-not-on incident. How could I? That was a real uck moment. Poor Giada. And Oprah didn't handle it that lighthandedly. She definitely wasn't feeling it with Giada...


After you've had that combo and you've spent all night hurling, don't say you weren't warned. AND, BTW, (I just thought of this) what are you and Giada doing eating chocolate, if you're pregnant?! Or is that a no-no from the dark ages, when I had my kids?

Anonymous said...

I found the whole segment bizarre to watch -- Oprah just wasn't clicking with Giada, and it seemed like the finished dish was the final straw. Giada has always seemed a littled strange when she's by herself on her own show, but she seems to do much better on the Today Show. Maybe she was just really nervous?

Becky said...

The whole show was a train wreck. I love Oprah but don't love Giada, but actually by the end of the show I felt sorry for Giada, it was so pathetic. I love Brie and hmm chocolate but basil? Ackward. We felt sick watching it.

WhenenRome said...

Yikes, there are a couple of serious haters here - looking at the seemingly ''anti-Giada'' posts! (Let me guess: They *don't* like putting any effort or thought into their cooking?)

I agree that Brie / Chocolate / Basil is a bit of a strange combo. And worse, Brie is the kind of cheese that starts to taste outright awful to most people if it's not warm enough. As for Blue Cheese, well, I think it tastes nasty any way you serve it. But those are my personal tastes.

There's no question that Giada's choices that day tried too hard to be different, and were off-the-mark. The initial blog stated that well. But there's also no question that Oprah behaved far less than gracious that day. (It seemed as if Nate was there to pick up her slack in courtesy.) Was it because of the stress over the girls' school abuse scandal? Was she stepping into the ''Rachael vs. Giada'' rivalry, opting *not* to make Giada comfortable in any way?

We'll probably never know.

But what we do know is that Giada is an amazingly talented chef. She effectively teaches viewers to broaden their cultural scope of Italian cooking without overwhelming them. And, by far, most of her creations are incredibly delicious. When you learn from her as I have, and translate that knowledge into cooking for your friends and family, the results usually amount to comments like, ''I feel like I'm eating at a fancy restaurant!''

It's inspiring and ambitious, and - just like with Paula Deen's Southern recipes, Giada pushes your Italian food perception boundaries - all while making the cooking itself FUN.

Given Giada's overall work, the nasty comments from Emiline and the anonymous (of course!) poster are far more misguided than Giada's menu choices that day.

Sue said...

Hi When En Rome,
On thinking about it, I think you may be right about Oprah's attitude. It did start off nice enough, but she could have been more gracious. But remember she WAS eating something pretty horrible, and if it's something Oprah's viewers appreciate (I'm not saying ME), it's a frank reaction to what's going on on her show.

I LOVE Giada. I love her family history of cooking. I love that she's trained. I love that she's catered and private chefed, which are 2 horribly challenging things. I love that's completely and totally gorgeous, BUT she really did miscalculate the dishes she made on this all-important appearance. Having said that, she's doing just fine and everybody loves her (her personal appearances at Food and Wine events always get raves). I don't think she has to worry about it for a sec.

I don't think Anonymous and Becky were so off base. Giada wasn't comfortable and after Oprah tasted her food, I guess she didn't feel she had to make her comfortable.

Emiline is an incredibly thoughtful blogger and amazing cook, not to mention being in the Food Network's target audience. It may say something more about Giada's show than Emiline that she doesn't like her.

WhenenRome said...

Thanks for your response, Sue.

Sorry, I should have been specific about which of the anonymous comments I was referring to. The first anonymous comment called Giada an ''idiot,'' which I thought was hateful.

As for Emiline, of course I don't know who she is, so I take nothing away from her cooking skills. As for her blogging, I'll take your word for it. But somehow I don't feel that her catty phrasing of ''Giada=Stupid'' will likely go down as her shining moment. (Hey, I'm picky when it comes to writing!) :-)

The rest of the comments, including the one you mentioned from Becky, I actually agree with. However, I've seen Oprah behave a whole lot nicer in more offensive situations. Personally, I've tasted unpleasant food and still somehow managed to have a sense of humor about it .... instead of, say, acting like a bird landed on my head and crapped! I honestly think she was just in a grouchy mood that day.

(BTW, sorry I was late to the party on this one. I just stumbled upon the blog today... Thanks for tolerating me!)

Anonymous said...

When I saw that people were still posting in March to the Oprah/Giada show, I was very happy to have a chance to add my 2 cents.

I thought that the coldness Oprah showed to Giada was not entirely in response to the odd food selection. But Giada, kept turning her back to Oprah focusing almost entirely on Nate for most of her time on the program! It would seem to be a no brainer that you would pay more attention to your host (in this case "THE HOST") than to her sidekick. Long before Oprah tasted her tragic dish, I said...poor thing, she won't be back.

Sue said...

Hi Whenenrome,
I guess the bottom line is that Oprah doesn’t have to please anyone but herself. Goodness knows she raves enough about stuff that she likes, so she probably doesn’t feel that she has to for stuff she doesn’t like.
I’m like you, I would never insult anyone’s food, it’s funny how I have no problem doing it when they’re on the Food Network…

Hi Anon,
Join in anytime.

That’s true, actually. I suppose she’s so used to men eating out of her hand (literally) that she assumed Nate would too. Do you think she knows that Nate plays for the other team? It was a bad situation all around.

Oh, I just thought of something. Maybe O thought G is competition for her precious Rachael ray and decided to diss her. Maybe Rachael put her up to it? Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.