The One Ingredient Giada De Laurentiis Hates

While it would be rational to assume prominent chefs will eat any dish or ingredient — after all, their job is to know about food — they're only human, and just like us, they have preferences, too. Even so, one of chef Giada De Laurentiis' most disliked foods may cause some raised eyebrows.

The Food Network star is known for her love of Italian food, which was cultivated from an early age after she was born in Rome, but there's one staple ingredient of the cuisine she firmly hates: green bell peppers. De Laurentiis has gone on the record with a number of publications to voice her disdain for the veggie, noting that she doesn't like the appearance or flavor of them and refuses to use the vibrant produce in her recipes.

It's a little surprising since peppers are a pretty common part of Italian cooking, but De Laurentiis isn't against the veggie family altogether. She's okay with yellow, orange, and red varieties. These are riper, sweeter, and less bitter options, and are often featured in plenty of her recipes including those for stuffed peppers.

De Laurentiis isn't the only one

A distaste for green bell peppers isn't unique to Giada De Laurentiis. Other culinary personalities are on the same page. "MasterChef" and "Chopped" star Aarón Sánchez is also a green pepper hater. Like De Laurentiis, he's okay with the yellow and red varieties, but he admitted to Food Network that he finds the green ones lacking in taste. 

Alice Waters, the iconic chef-owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, is also in the same boat, describing the bulbous green veggie as "a mistake" and "bitter" in her book, "Chez Panisse Vegetables."

While these chefs haven't given in-depth explanations of their pepper-phobia, Waters' description of them being too bitter appears to be a common refrain amongst those who despise the green vegetable. This bitterness and generally more aggressive taste profile comes from the fact that green peppers are actually unripe and are harvested at this premature stage — as they ripen and turn red, the flavor becomes sweeter and more palatable. 

Green peppers can be tougher to digest for some people, too, with a reputation for causing gas and leading to indigestion. 

The best ways to eat green peppers

If you are hesitant about green peppers, you can try eating them cooked rather than raw, as this mellows out the rougher and more bitter taste components of the veggie. They'll tend to work better in rich dishes like a steak, green pepper, and blue cheese sandwich where that bitterness can help to cut through fatty ingredients like cheese, meat, or butter. Cajun food is a good setting for green peppers, where they're part of the "holy trinity" that makes up the base of dishes, alongside celery and onion (similar to mirepoix but where green peppers replace the carrots).

If green bell peppers are totally off the menu, there are alternatives: The most obvious choice is to switch to yellow, red, or orange bell peppers. Otherwise, look elsewhere in the pepper family. For example, poblano peppers may be green, but their flavor is heartier, not bitter, and even a little smoky (although they're a bit spicier). Shishito or padrón peppers are other alternatives, offering a sweeter taste and sometimes a spicy kick, or if you have access to them, New Mexico's beloved Hatch chiles are popular for their earthy taste.