updated 06/17/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/17/2011 AT 12:30 PM ET
Due to start the California leg of their North American tour on July 8, the Royal Newlyweds will head to the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club the next day for a charity match in which William will participate, Kate and 2,500 other people will watch, and the photogenic culinary artist Giada De Laurentiis will cook, the chef revealed on Friday’s Today show.
“I had no idea the Royal Couple would be attending,” De Laurentiis, 40, told Today.com. Meanwhile, in its promos, the show had teased that a member of its staff would be cooking for the Royals – prompting new co-host Ann Curry to announce twice she wouldn’t be the one standing over the stove.
“And when I finally found out it was actually kind of a bummer,” says De Laurentiis of William and Kate being the secret guests of honor. “I couldn’t tell anyone – I had to keep it hush-hush until their California itinerary was released!”
That was Wednesday. So, on Friday, De Laurentiis spilled the beans – rather, revealed her menu – which not only represents California cuisine but also pays tribute to her Italian heritage.
Among the dishes:
A “light and colorful” pea pesto crostini, featuring pureed peas on toast, topped with half a cherry tomato
California chopped salad with a mix of grilled lettuces, grilled corn, grilled shrimp, zucchini and crispy tortillas in a light lemon dressing
Chicken Milanese, which features breaded chicken cutlets in a creamy tomato fennel sauce
Her girlfriends “freaked out” when she told them about her royal connection, says De Laurentiis. “They couldn’t believe I didn’t tell them [earlier]. Everyone tells you that they would have kept the secret. But they are all extremely ecstatic for me.”
Now, De Laurentiis’s only hurdle? Her outfit for July 9. As she previews, “I’m thinking modern-day Pretty Woman.”