HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Oh Giada, What were you thinking?

(For the record, I'm ambivalent about Giada's show but think she has some decent recipes.)

A friend just sent me this link for an article in Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/women/women-we...

The photos are ... well ... they call to mind the infamous Elizabeth Bathory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabet... ) or an abattoir, for that matter. They're not images I want to associate with food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Agreed. It looks like she is sitting in blood. Especially the 3rd pic on the Esquire site. Yuck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wino22

      Yuck is right - OK, she likes tomatoes. But there HAS to be a better way to photograph her sexily with them - what about biting into one? But this just looks like rivers of blood she's lolling around in.

      But then again - we *are* talking about it. :-/

      1. re: LindaWhit

        >photograph her sexily with them - what about biting into one?
        "Giada Bites"? ... sounds like a Vampire movie.

        I think the pix miss a their mark by a bit too.
        I think bloodlust more than hunger, too.

    2. It's clearly a take off on the pictures from the Tomato Festival in Bunol, Valencia. http://www.spanishpropertyworld.com/l... The difference between tomatoes and blood is significant here and, in my humble opinion, when making a ragu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: inuksuk

        I disagree - La Tomatina Festival is a tomato throwing festival, which is how they get covered in tomato sauce. The pics of Giada (at least the 1st and 3rd ones) seem to show her squeezing the blood out of hearts and wallowing in blood. Very cannibalistic, to my eye. And disturbing.

      2. Reminds of that Beatle album cover (which was banned) where they posed with meat and parts of dolls. These images are very odd.

        1. Wow, that's actually really disturbing. Really.

          1. Oh, I disagree. These are great photos, very artistic, and she looks just fantastic. I wish I looked so good. Anyway, I too am ambivalent about her show, but I do enjoy her cookbooks.

            10 Replies
            1. re: kkak97

              She looks like she is in ecstasy...which is what I associate w/ a wonderful meal...great food, fresh ingredients....PURE BLISS!
              GREAT FOOD IS SEXY!

              1. re: kkak97

                I agree - with those of you who disagree! I looked at the pictures before I read the responses. It's so obviously tomatoes - and she just looks fab (and ecstatic)!

                1. re: cackalackie

                  Looks stupid. Not artistic, not ecstatic, just plain dumb.

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    ...but you have to hand it to whomever did the airbrushing -- they did a fine job. Must be the same airbrusher who works for Hef.

                    1. re: glutton

                      I was thinking she looks really airbrushed.
                      The only good thing I can think of to say about those picks is - Killer shoes!

                      1. re: starlady

                        No airbrushing anymore...all done in Photo Shop or another computer program. Probably much of the tomato 'soup' whatever was added on the computer. I like these photos, I say go for over the top, which they did! The idea of any great photographs is to elevate it to beyond conventional thinking and expectations.

                        1. re: Jesdamala

                          True, my bad. It's looks very CG to me :)

                          And I have to ask, in the third photo why is she biting her fingers? Her acrylics fallen off in all the juice? It looks like her hand is rubber or something. The other two I don't mind. Don't like, Don't not like, don't care.

                      2. re: glutton

                        Photoshopped within an inch of her life.

                        But not all that well, I'd hink Esquire could afford better talent.

                      3. re: Phaedrus

                        I agree. Not horrific, not sadistic, not remotely sexy -- just dumb. I like cleavage, but I'm tired of hers. She's mildly sexy but these pictures do nothing to increase it.

                        Are we talking about it? Sure -- someone started a thread with a link to pictures and we followed up on it. On that level, it "worked". So what? It does nothing to spark a desire to buy Esquire or buy anything from their ads.

                    2. re: kkak97

                      HOT!!! I love the pics. Sexy and funny, totally cool.

                    3. She knows that the Rachael Ray FHM photos helped her appeal, and I don't blame her for using her appeal. I can at least respect Giada for her culinary talent and it's not like she's tarted up like RR was.

                      1. Looks like they were trying for the Sophia Loren stomping grape effect...or Esquire was going for the subconscious S/M message - doesn't work or is just weird bad. Should have hired Annie Liebowitz.

                        1. Did she run afoul of a skunk?

                          (tomato juice is supposed to remove the odor)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: salutlemonde

                            i wish the headline were "Giada attacked by skunk" and then all of those tomatoes would make sense,

                          2. OMG. That's just horrifying. I get the concept, and actually sort of think the concept is food. Just that she used the WRONG food and ruined the whole affair.

                            I am reminded of the movie The Shining - the original with Jack Nicholson.

                            1. That toothy grin and the white dress reminiscent of butcher's whites with all that red is just gruesome. Not sexy, not funny, and not appetizing.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: amyzan

                                I'm of two minds on this - and I have a bit of a photography background.

                                The photos are stunning - she looks fabulous, they are great "high key" photos, they grab you all right. I like the concept, but I do think they missed the mark somewhere on it. I don't think the fault lies with the subject - Giarda delivered - I think it's in the direction of the photographer. Too much "tension", not enough sensuality, which I kind of think is what he/she wanted to achieve - especially given the target audience of Esquire.

                                They do wind up being sexy but there is a perverse tone to them. Overall, I like them, but I don't LOVE them. And I don't mind perverse in a photo - Helmut Newton, who was known for delving into S/M imagery and was one of the most well known fashion photographers in the world, is one of my favorites.

                                Oh and Amy - I wasn't replying to you. I hit the "reply" button in the wrong place :-)

                                1. re: sivyaleah

                                  All I can say is Big Time Photo Shop. She doesn't look real.

                                  1. re: melly

                                    After looking at them again, I hope that those extensions were clip ons, and that they weren't synthetic. The acid in the tomatoes might eat fake hair, or the glue!

                              2. Well, she comes from a theatrical family and the photos are nothing if not dramatic.

                                1. I love it! Its way more refreshing and artistic than a half naked chef sprawled out like a porn star like the other rest is made to look like in men magazines. No sex kitten looks, no bikini, no sultry eyes with yoga poses needed from her. Shes very sexy even if shes just squeezing tomatoes.

                                  1. I like the photos. I am a big fan of Giada (as a person and her show and her recipes) and didn't think the photos were gross or distasteful. And damn, she is gorgeous. Makes me wish I was a lesbian.....LOL

                                    1. Tomatoes and Giada...now there's a dish. I can see where some of you might see it as gruesome, but I also think each person makes a choice, conscious or otherwise, about how to interpret it...it's almost like some kind of concrete rorshach test.

                                      However, the women's studies scholar in me is shaking its head.

                                      1. I went back and looked again. There is something mesmerizing about the photos. My first reaction was totally shock and horror, and then I realized I liked the shock and horror. It's perverse, but art is supposed to do stuff like that to the viewer.

                                        What I think is most remarkable about the photos is that they are such a departure from her squeaky clean image that gets projected on the FN. She looks much more vixenish, and yes, a little scary. It's fun.

                                        I would like to see companion photos of, say, Anthony Bourdain in all white, holding a knife, and covered with tomato stains. With a crooked little smile on his face. That would be a blast.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: pgokey

                                          "Squeaky clean?" The NYT ran an article comparing the production values of her show to those of the porn industry. Or am I mistaken?

                                          1. re: pgokey

                                            that might be sexy pgokey. i think the photos of giada emphasize how much she looks like a litte girl, actually. Something even sexier, like her at face level biting into the tomato or smushing tomatoes in a less violent way. Or made it more earthy, she already looks like a barbie doll in real life with sharp features and a big head, she needs some balance in the pictures.

                                          2. She looks good!! I wish my "girls" were that perky!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Ela0427

                                              I remember reading an article about her and fashion. She has a really hard time finding clothes that fit, as she's so petite - and yet busty. Poor thing.

                                              1. re: cackalackie

                                                And now that nice dress is probably ruined! :(

                                                1. re: Lixer

                                                  Exactly. That's the only thing I can think about- fabulous dress. Have you never heard of an apron?

                                                  I realize, that's the point, but it takes me out of it.

                                            2. I'm getting a kick reading these comments. But you guys have discounted one thing:

                                              The photos work.

                                              You know why? They've got you to talk about them.

                                              Already there are 22 responses (including this one). A little controversy = free publicity.

                                              Imagine if Giada was shown biting into a tomato and that was it. Would anyone have said a peep? Nope. You've played right into the hands of the publisher. And now they're already thinking of what else they can rile up the foodies with. I, for one, am looking forward to more outraged posts when that happens! ;-)

                                              Thanks though. Had it not been for this thread, I wouldn't have had any idea Giada was in Esquire. I do like her show...one of the last remaining shows on Food Network that is watchable (other than Good Eats).


                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: elmomonster

                                                Didn't discount it at all - said it at the top of the thread that it got us talking about the pics. :-)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Yea, but did she have the final OK? I am going to have to question her taste if she did (LOL). Those freakin' tomato cans are bigger than she is. And lying in a pool of tomato water with your giant hand in your mouth. Not appealing. Could have been sooooooo much more attractive/ sensuous/appetizing. They did her no good service, IMO.

                                                    1. re: MellieMac

                                                      Hey, I completely agree with you MellieMac. I found the pics disturbing. But we ARE talking about it...which is what she, her agents, and/or the photographer wanted. :-)

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Yea, but that is just us Chowhounders. We care. What if you wanted to rope in a not necessarily foody person. Would you use those photos? Just asking...

                                                2. jfood thinks these pictures are brilliant. they convey so many emotions on many level. how many times has anyone seen sensual photos of a chef, of tomatoes of a combinationof the two. Should we see Batali holding a cleaver in one hand a dead duck in theother and a white apron covered in blood?

                                                  Bravo to Esquire. Giada nd most importantly the photographer.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    I adore Giada, but these photos make me uncomfortable... I winced when I saw them.

                                                    I associate food with comfort, love and happiness. She looks pretty happy in these pictures, but it doesn't represent how I think about food, I guess.

                                                    I suppose that means the photographer/artistic director did a good job on a certain level... I had an immediate emotional reaction when I saw them.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      Are you kidding? Sensual photos involving people and food? There is nothing more sensual than people and food! So many emotions? I think she looks terrified, stiff and uncomfortable. Would have been smarter to keep it simple. Her taking a big bite out of a beautiful ripe tomato with the obligatory Giada boob shot.
                                                      I think your Batali analogy is telling. Lack of sensual imagination.

                                                      1. re: MellieMac

                                                        to be responsive and in the order of your questions

                                                        - Nope, not kidding
                                                        - Yup, absolutely possible for sensuality and food. think a major photographer did a display like this many years ago.
                                                        - Yup, heh look at all the emotions here

                                                        your layout strikes at first grade and not very imaginative whereas these take it to another level. And if this is terrified, jfood should take you to the 'hood he grew up in and let you take a look at those terrified faces.

                                                        So we agree to disagree.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          Thank God for democracy and agreeing to disagree...

                                                          Yikes on your neighborhood...

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            Oh. and PS, if a major photgrapher did a similar display many years ago...how bloody original is that? Imitation not always the best form of flattery...

                                                            1. re: MellieMac

                                                              Sorry double-m on the reference to previous shoots. it was a shoot with a chef and food, not a similar shoot with toms and chef. this layout with the familiaroty between the tomatoes and the chef is new to me.

                                                      2. The shot of her lying down in the 'sauce' instantly reminded me of the scene from the end of Reservoir Dogs when Tim Roth's character is lying (and dying) in a huge pool of his own blood.


                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                          looks like the period from hell...

                                                          1. re: Sarah

                                                            ROFL!!!! OK, that was one thought I hadn't yet had about these pics! I was thinking more in the vein of slasher movies. (Vein - blood. Get it? <vbg>)

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              Well since you're on a tangent ... it appears to me (a guy) that those two tomatoes she's squeezing the begesus out of are a metaphor for the unimaginable for most men. Letsee... cleavage, toothy smile, bloody mess, teeny-tiny arms and fists squeezing, squeezing...and aarrrrggggggggghhhhhh!!!!! (no that wasn't a scream of joy)

                                                              Okay, perhaps those are silicone implant metaphors and she's rejoicing because she doesn't need them...in a pool of blood! Yeah, didn't think so...it's just weird.

                                                            2. re: Sarah

                                                              Ok - I REALLY wanted to say this but decorum prevented me. But I'm glad someone else did :-)

                                                              1. re: Sarah

                                                                Vivid and concise description. LOL

                                                                1. re: Sarah

                                                                  right, I don't see how all that red liquid is sexy...unless there's something we don't know about men.

                                                                  1. re: Sarah

                                                                    Yeah I wasn't gonna say it....I'm glad someone else did. LOL

                                                                    1. re: Sarah

                                                                      That's the other thought that came to mind(and she seems very pleased about it). But did not say anything due to 'gender sensitivity issues,'

                                                                  2. These don't bother me at all. I absolutely love the first shot, the other two are just "eh" to me but certainly not offensive. I don't get the cannibalistic comment somewhere up thread. Do people just associate red with blood and gore?

                                                                    1. looks like she's in tomatoes to me...Giada + tomatoes = double YIUMMY if you ask me !, I'd gladly have that on my pasta any day!

                                                                      1. There is no denying she's an attractive girl, but the food all over her just makes me squeamish. How yucky that would feel to have tomato juice running down your leg, and in such a cute dress.... =(

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                          yeah...I would have preferred whipped cream...LOL

                                                                        2. Just think how many Esquire readers (not Chowhounds) might turn to the Food Network for the first time in order to check her show out after seeing these shots. That's what it's all about - getting more publicity and therefore more viewers. Even if they never tune in again, they've reached a much wider audience than if they'd done the obligatory biting into _____ .

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                                                            Signature Giada: blank eyes and an overstretched smile. She could sit naked on a sea of gorgeous men and not be sexy.

                                                                            1. re: Claire

                                                                              While I'm not a fan of her cookbooks, much of her cooking, and this photo spread, I have to admit that I've enjoyed her foodporn show from time to time. It's best on mute when I don't have to hear her, but I can watch her be cute in the kitchen. She's not sexy, but I think she's attractive. I'll give her that much credit.

                                                                              (I think I just broke some rule... this is supposed to be about the food...)

                                                                          2. This comes off fly-weight and dated ...
                                                                            Newton? ... Les Krims? ... please, it's been done ...
                                                                            a looooong time ago.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                                                                                Yes, a long time ago. All the way back to images on ancient Greek vases. Everything has been done before. There is nothing new under the sun, TDLOA. But was this done well? I say yes. Giada looked good.

                                                                                1. re: inuksuk

                                                                                  With branding, "looking good" isn't necessarily "effective".
                                                                                  So ... was this "well done"? Yes?

                                                                              2. Yuck. I don't care if it's blood (which it sort of looks like) or tomatoes (which is obvious). There is nothing sexy about being covered in it that way. It's like some childish food fight.

                                                                                I generally like Giada, even if her head is a bit freakishly weird, and I never thought she was ever trying to be in-your-face sexy (even with the low cut tops). This attempt to be that way is sort of pathetic.

                                                                                1. I thought Giada had more class. Anyway, I guess it is all about "shocking" people to sell things. As said, nothing new under the sun, to quote Solomon. BTW, WHAT is the thing that is supposed to be her hand in photo with her lying in [fill in the (subconsious) blank]? Rubber chicken somehow comes to mind.

                                                                                  1. The photos are striking and have certainly gotten the job done, more attention to Giada and the FN etc.
                                                                                    But I can't help it, they give me the heebs. ish.

                                                                                    1. I think whole tomatoes would have been better. She looks slightly evil.

                                                                                        1. re: guttergourmet

                                                                                          C'mon, most of us, if we looked like that, would love to be photographed for Esquire, and would do so in Ketchup...paleese....

                                                                                        2. Giada already scares me, even without those photos. She seems to have more teeth than a shark.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Toadberry

                                                                                            toadberry, quite funny! i pictured in my mind a grinning giada-shark! (it works, doesn't it!?!?!?)

                                                                                            now, if only sharks had cleavage...;-p

                                                                                          2. "Oh Giada, What were you thinking?"

                                                                                            Wow. Just look at the 'buzz' it created here. Got you all talking about it!

                                                                                            I think it accomplished it intended purpose.

                                                                                            Some gimmicks can be great!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: crt

                                                                                              crt-As I read, I was thinking exactly what you posted...I smiled as I came to it.

                                                                                              Giada, keep putting yourself out there! Good for you.

                                                                                            2. She is thinking " I'm newly pregnant, I had better get a good picture of my hot bod while the getting is good!".

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: chocchipcookie

                                                                                                My only complaint is that she is so airbrushed she doesn't look real. For those who complain - get over it. She looks great. I wish I could look like that. I try, but I'm not there yet.