Jessica Fecteau
April 20, 2018 10:45 AM

Although Giada De Laurentiis is known for her elegant recipes and successful restaurant ventures, the chef is no stranger to harsh criticism.

The 47-year-old says when New York Times food critic Pete Wells ate at Giada—her Las Vegas restaurant located in the Cromwell hotel, which opened in 2014—and gave his review, “it was not pretty.”

“I spent two days bawling my eyes out,” De Laurentiis said in an interview with the Eater Upsell podcast. “He went a month after I opened, and of course he ripped it to shreds.”‘

Along with scathing criticisms of the pasta and pizza, Wells called Giada’s signature dish, chicken cacciatore, “a puzzle whose pieces didn’t fit” with “browned, dry chicken pieces that seemed to have no relationship to the original bird.”

But the author of Giada’s Italy says she knows the feedback comes with being in the food industry.

“They’re after us. It’s fine,” De Laurentiis said. “It is what it is. It’s part of who we are. We open ourselves up to those critics. I feel like I have my iconic dishes, my restaurant does really well, I do my best to deliver great service and great food, and that is the job that I have. I will tell you that I was immensely upset. It really killed me for a while.”

RELATED: Why Giada De Laurentiis Didn’t Speak to Bobby Flay for 8 Months: ‘I Thought, You’re a Jerk’

De Laurentiis also opened up about how she got into the restaurant industry, and the pressures of attending the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris in her twenties.

“You already know I’m a little person, I lost 10 pounds,” she said. “I couldn’t eat, sleep, I was so … I didn’t speak French, the classes were in French … I don’t know what I was thinking. The whole time. What was I thinking in this life because I am not that person. I don’t take those kind of risks, but I always wanted to go to culinary school. My parents … and I’m the first in my family to go to college, and my parents were like, ‘You can’t possibly know what you want to do so why don’t you buy yourself some time?’ I paid for my own college. I paid to go to UCLA, probably why I went to UCLA and not USC, and then I said I want to go to culinary school, and they finally were like, okay fine.”

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RELATED VIDEO: Giada De Laurentiis Dishes on Life after Divorce and Coast to Coast Parenting

Now mom to daughter Jade, 10, De Laurentiis says she is all about making time for her family, and stresses less about impressing everyone else. “I used to say ‘yes’ to a lot of things. And I worked, worked, worked, and I traveled a ton,” she recently told PEOPLE. “I still travel a lot, and I still work a lot, but I’m a lot pickier than I used to be. And simply because I want to be with Jade.”

“On the days that I have Jade, I don’t travel,” added De Laurentiis, who recently opened another Vegas restaurant, Pronto, inside Caesars Palace. “And then on the days that she’s with her dad, I travel. And I really fine-tuned that schedule and I live and die by that calendar. And I try my hardest to not change things up and not leave at the drop of a hat. Because it’s really hard on her. And it’s really hard on me. So I just say ‘no’ a lot more than I used to.”

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