Giada De Laurentiis' Filipino Chicken Adobo Was a Cultural Appropriation Nightmare

Anyone who grew up watching the Food Network probably remembers breakout personality, Giada De Laurentiis. She made a splash on the popular cooking channel with her show, Everyday Italian, from 2003 to 2008. De Laurentiis’ easy-to-love personality made learning Italian home cooking easy for viewers. Being so well known often comes with a scandal and De Laurentiis is no stranger to this. Even some of her recipes raise eyebrows. 

Giada De Laurentiis makes homemade Italian food easy and fun

De Laurentiis never intended to become a famous chef even though she was raised around food. The now-51-year-old grew up working at her grandfather’s food market and even studied how to be a chef at the prestigious culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris. 

When a Food Network producer caught a glimpse of her in Food and Wine Magazine, her life took on a new trajectory. The producer thought her warm personality would be a big hit with Food Network viewers, and he wasn’t wrong. De Laurentiis’ new show, Everyday Italian, became an instant hit in 2003. She even won an Emmy Award. 

De Laurentiis didn’t stop there. She went on to publish nine cookbooks, open several restaurants, and even co-host with Bobby Flay. The girl who never intended to be famous built up a net worth of $30 million — and did all of this while raising her daughter.

De Laurentiis made Chicken Adobo on ‘Giada at Home’

The recipe in question is De Lauretiis’ Chicken Adobo, which she cooked on her show, Giada at Home. The star chef shared this recipe specifically during the episode entitled Big Game. De Laurentiis cooked various playful menu items with plans to serve them to guests coming over to watch a major sporting event. 

One of the recipes on the menu for this day was Filipino Chicken Adobo. The ingredients include:

  • White wine vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Light brown sugar
  • Garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Dried bay leaves
  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Low sodium chicken broth
  • Arrowroot
  • Lime Juice
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

This delicious dish comes from the Philippines. Considered a “simmer all day” recipe, it creates an amazing chicken stock and sauce. The soupiness of Chicken Adobo makes it pair perfectly with a side of white rice as is traditional for this recipe. 

Problems with Giada De Lauretiis’ Chicken Adobo 

While the Chicken Adobo is a crowd pleaser and seemingly perfect for a gathering of friends, there have been some problems with how De Laurentiis presents the dish. Mashable reports on the cultural appropriation claims for this recipe.

In recent years, more white food personalities have been accused of cultural appropriation due to the recipes they develop. De Laurentiis has not received the brunt of the headlines, but she hasn’t escaped the accusations either. 

It all started when a friend alerted food blogger, Saralynn Pablo, that De Laurentiis made Chicken Adobo on her show. Pablo expected the lineup to be primarily finger foods for a fun night watching a big game. She was astonished to see a more saucy dish like Chicken Adobo in the lineup because it is nearly impossible to eat with your hands. It didn’t end there though.

Pablo points out that not only did De Laurentiis use incorrect ingredients; she also did not serve the Chicken Adobo with rice as traditionally done. It was also mentioned that there was no cultural background for the dish given in the episode. She says, “Give the proper historical and contemporary context. Don’t exoticize, fetishize. Or just don’t go there are all.”

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