Chef Lidia Bastianich
With her TV series, 6 cookbooks and 4 restaurants she has spread her gospel of homey Italian cooking, the importance of family meals and of eating fresh, seasonal food.
In addition to her restaurant and entertainment empire, she also offers a line of specialty sauces, including ones developed for Williams-Sonoma, and a culinary travel company offering trips to Italy. Bastianich maintains she still has time to have her family over for dinner at least once a week.
Star of the public television series, LIDIA'S ITALIAN-AMERICAN KITCHEN, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is widely regarded as the "First Lady of Italian cuisine and restaurants in the United States." She was born in Pola, Istria, a region formed by the Gulf of Trieste at the juncture of Italy and the former Yugoslavia, and she came to New York in 1958. Her television show, Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen, began airing in January, 2001 and is accompanied by her third cookbook by the same name, released in October 2001 (Knopf). Lidia's Italian Table was released in September 1998 together with a companion book of the same name (William Morrow, 1998). In addition, Lidia is the author of the monthly column, Lidia's Italian Table, distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.
Her partners, Geoffrey Drummond and Nat Katzman of A La Carte Communications, are excited about Lidia's active and continuous on-air presence. In addition to her appearance in the television series, she has been active in working with stations around the country hosting pledge marathons. She has already hosted specials in San Francisco, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Long Island, San Antonio, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Kansas City. Lidia was also one of the five top television chefs (along with Jacques Pepin, Paul Prudhomme, Martin Yan and Nathalie Dupre') to be featured in a Julia Child hosted millennium cooking special, AN AMERICAN FEAST, which aired in December, 2000 in every television market in the U.S.
Lidia is also considered an acclaimed chef and restaurateur. She is the owner of the award-winning FELIDIA restaurant and, with her son Joseph, runs the very popular theater district eatery BECCO. Lidia is also a partner in ESCA restaurant with her son Joseph and Mario Batali. Lidia and Joseph's first venture outside of New York City was at LIDIA'S KANSAS CITY with managing partner David Wagner, a native of Kansas City. The restaurant, which has now also expanded to LIDIA'S PITTSBURGH, combines the cuisines of both Felidia and Becco restaurants. The concept of LIDIA'S will continue to expand in other mid-size cities across the U.S. during the upcoming years.
Lidia developed her own line of pasta sauces, LIDIA'S FLAVORS OF ITALY, with one of her television sponsors in 1998. Colavita USA, the distributor, began working in the tri-state market and has found much success. Currently the sauce line is found nationwide, and she is working on an exclusive product for Williams Sonoma stores.
Lidia is also the founder of ESPERIENZE ITALIANE, an international tour operator that specializes in high-end trips to Italy. The company is in its fifth year of operation and currently designs tours for clients such as Lehman Brothers, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (now part of Credit Suisse), American Express Publishing and an exclusive tour for American Express Platinum Card, which is published in the card's newsletter that goes to more than 350,000 members.
There are over 55,000 subscribers to the monthly recipe and newsletter at Lidia's website www.lidiasitaly.com.