On October 15, Giada De Laurentiis is hosting a pop-up dinner in New York at Chefs Club Counter, serving guests one of two simple but delicious-sounding dishes: fusilli with jumbo shrimp or rigatoni with pork ragu. It turns out, the celebrity chef is using the one-night-only event as an opportunity to test ideas for a fast-casual concept she’s currently working on, PopSugar reports.
“I’ve been wanting to do a fast-casual for forever,” she told PopSugar. “I’ve learned from having a restaurant in Vegas that people love pasta, and they love pasta at all different price points, to be honest.”
After the dinner, she plans on listening to what people have to say about her dishes and then assess they would work on a larger scale.
“I’m hoping that I get some really great feedback from people as to whether or not this is something that people would like,” Giada said. She also told the website that, as of right now, she would start the potential chain in the Midwest and end up in New York last, if at all. (“You guys have a lot of great food—not sure you need more!”)
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De Laurentiis already has a lot going on. She opened her Las Vegas restaurant, Giada, in 2014 and has starred (or co-starred) in over nine television shows, including the Food Network’s “Giada at Home.” Her ninth cookbook is expected in the spring of 2018.
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“The book will be an homage to my grandfather’s Italy, featuring lots of super traditional recipes and lifestyle secrets he would have loved,” she wrote in her newsletter earlier this year. “That’s right, I’m toning down my inner California girl on this project—but just for a while!”
De Laurentiis isn’t the first famed chef to enter the fast casual game. José Andrés opened a fast-casual pop-up earlier this year, and L.A.’s Ricardo Zarate, who was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2011, opened casual Peruvian spot Mamacita in April.