“I think you have to ask for help whenever possible and I do,” the chef tells PEOPLE of co-parenting her daughter Jade, 9, with ex-husband Todd Thompson. “Her dad is pretty good at juggling so I think you just need to be okay with asking for help because you’re going to need it.”
De Laurentiis, 46, who just launched a collection of pasta sauces and kitchen tools with Williams Sonoma, says that managing her work obligations and being a great mom is all about balance—and taking a lot of flights. “It’s tricky but I take it day by day. I try to schedule my time so if I do come to New York for something, I bang it out and then I go home,” she says. “It also means I have sinus infections constantly because I’m always on the road,” she adds, laughing, “but I think it’s really just about being okay with knowing that you can’t do it all and that you take it one day at a time and ask for help when you need it.”
WATCH: Giada De Laurentiis Dishes on Life after Divorce and Coast to Coast Parenting
And for those busy mornings when she has less than ideal time to get breakfast on the table for Jade, De Laurentiis has a few tricks up her sleeve. If you’re only going to get one tool from her new Williams Sonoma collection, the chef suggests buying the Wood Handled Conical Grater because of its versatility. Not only does she use it to grate cheeses, chocolate or spices but also butter.
“Sometimes when I make my daughter toast in the morning I don’t have time to wait for the butter to melt and when you toast bread and you put cold butter on it, it breaks the bread,” she says. “So I take the cold butter, I grate and I sprinkle it over the hot bread. What happens is it melts. Most of us don’t have the time to sit around and wait for butter to soften on its own and sticking it in the microwave kind of changes the texture, so I grate it. Otherwise you just destroy that piece of toast and my daughter hates it when it looks like someone just chewed her toast.”
Want the ultimate dish on the latest celebrity food news, plus exclusive recipes, videos and more? Click here to subscribe to the People Food newsletter.
FROM PEN: How Alicia Silverstone Maintains a Strict Vegan Diet For Her Son Without Judging Other Moms
The Food Network Star judge says Jade does like to spend time cooking in the kitchen with her—but don’t assume that means she wants to follow in her mom’s footsteps. “There’s not one single part of her that’s like, ‘I’m going to be a cook like my mom.’ No it’s like, ‘That’s my mom and I am my own person,'” says De Laurentiis. “She likes to do other things. One day she wants to be a professional horseback rider, the next day she wants to be a gymnast in the Olympics and the next day she wants to sing. It changes every day. Cooking is never on that list.”
“She can have her own identity,” she continues. “This is a big identity to deal with so I can understand that.”