May 08, 2011 02:00 PM

Gary Gershoff/WireImage

For Giada De Laurentiis, the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day was a girls’ week in the Big Apple with her daughter Jade Marie.

“She’s 3 years old,” the TV chef told PEOPLE at the Operation Smile gala Thursday in New York. “It’s at the time where everything is so fantastic and exciting for her, so I thought it would be really fun to spend Mother’s Day week here, just she and I.”

De Laurentiis, 40, brought Jade to the Today Show on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. “She’s going to be a pro,” De Laurentiis laughs.

It’s been a chance for Jade to understand what her mother does when she goes to work, De Laurentiis explains, and she’s already getting the TV bug.

“Once she’s there, I don’t exist anymore,” De Laurentiis said. “In fact, Hoda [Kotb] said, ‘You need to get that girl her own show.’ I’m like, ‘She’s 3.'”

The pair are heading home to Los Angeles this weekend to spend the holiday with her mother and husband, Todd Thompson, who will be cooking for everyone Sunday. Jade will be pitching in to help her dad, too.

“She’s becoming a very good cook, I must say. She helps make a mean carbonara, which is one of my favorites.”

Even though she’s a pro, De Laurentiis says her family isn’t afraid to cook for her. “My mother’’s not intimidated, and the rest of my family’s definitely not,” she said. “They think they’re better cooks than I am.”

— Asher Fogle

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