2014 Saint Martin's Gala with chef Lidia Bastianich

About Lidia Bastianich

When it comes to Italian cooking, Lidia Bastianich is America’s “grande dame”! In culinary circles, Lidia has long been regarded as one of the premier Italian chefs in the United States.

Lidia is a revered chef, an Emmy Award-winning television host, a best-selling cookbook author, a restaurateur, and the owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. At the heart of all her culinary endeavors is a warm, welcoming spirit that reflects her focus on family, community and hospitality.

Lidia was a “celebrity chef” before celebrity chefs were en vogue! In 1993, Julia Child invited Lidia to appear in an episode of her PBS series, Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs, which featured acclaimed chefs from around the U.S., preparing dishes in their own home kitchens. In 1998, Lidia would parlay her expertise in Italian cuisine into a regular presence on public television cooking shows, garnering a loyal audience of professional chefs, home chefs and foodies.

Lidia’s own kitchen has served as the stage set for all four of her television series — Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italy, and, since 2011, Lidia’s Italy in America. In 2013, Lidia won the Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Culinary Host” for Lidia’s Italy. Currently, Lidia is also hosting a series of hour-long PBS specials called Lidia Celebrates America.

In partnership with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, and her son, Joe Bastianich, Lidia owns several Italian restaurants in the U.S., including: Felidia, Del Posto, Esca and Becco in Manhattan; Lidia’s Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Lidia’s Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2010, Lidia and her son, Joe, partnered with Mario Batali and Oscar Farinetti to open Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City.

A prolific author, Lidia has written numerous cookbooks, including Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes, Lidia’s Italy in America, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, and Lidia’s Italy — all companion books to the three-time Emmy-nominated television series Lidia’s Kitchen, Lidia’s Italy in America and Lidia’s Italy. Lidia’s first children’s book, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen, was inspired by her five grandchildren. The second installation in the series, Lidia’s Family Kitchen: Nonna’s Birthday Surprise, was released in 2013.

Lidia is founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high-quality broadcast productions. She has a line of pastas and all natural sauces called LIDIA’S, and recently launched an exclusive line of ready-made home-style meals with Whole Foods Market in the Northeast.

Today, Lidia lives in Queens with her mother, Erminia Matticchio. Erminia maintains a garden behind their house, which provides many of the ingredients Lidia features, and frequently serves as a sous chef on the PBS shows. Lidia’s daughter, Tanya — a Ph.D. in art history — lives with her family just a few blocks away, and serves as the main on-camera cultural expert for all the segments of Lidia’s PBS series that are filmed in Italy. Lidia’s son, Joe — a sommelier and restaurateur — occasionally appears in his mother’s series to offer wine expertise. Together with Joe, Lidia produces award-winning wines at Bastianich Vineyard in Friuli, Italy, and La Mozza Vineyard in Maremma, Italy.

About the importance of passing on family traditions, Lidia says:

Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways. It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from.”

Lidia gives freely of her time and knowledge, and is active member of society who participates in community service activities and special events on behalf of several foundations and public television.

Lidia ends each show with her signature line, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” (“Everyone to the table to eat!”)


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