Giada De Laurentiis

Name sound familiar to you? It should; she's the charismatic host of the Food Network's smash hit Everyday Italian. Born in Rome and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, De Laurentiis makes even gnocchi look easy. And trust us, it's not.

Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a chef.

I was 12 years old and watching a chef in my grandfather's store (DDL Foods) make a pizza -
I never looked back.

What snack would you leave on a plate for Santa Claus, to really tempt him?

A block of torrone.

What one dish is always on your holiday table?

Spaghetti with clams in red sauce.

Describe a holiday food memory from your childhood.

Celebrating Christmas at my grandfather's house. It was the one holiday when our entire family would convene, and Grandfather would dress up as Santa Claus. Christmas dinner would last at least six hours!

What chef from the present or past would you choose as your personal chef?

Nobu Matsuhisa.

What is your advice to future chefs?

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Chocolate and chocolate!

What do you prepare at home for yourself and for your family?

I prepare my husband's favorite dish: farfalle with sausage, mushroom, and peas.