Lidia Bastianich to headline 2014 Saint Martin’s Gala

April 22, 2014


LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University will welcome celebrity chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich for its signature fundraiser, the Saint Martin’s Gala, this fall. The Gala takes place Saturday, Nov. 1, at Marcus Pavilion on the University’s Lacey campus.

Lidia Bastianich photoBastianich, a revered Italian-American chef and restaurateur based in New York City, joins the list of culinary luminaries to take center stage at Marcus Pavilion in recent years. Since 2011, when Mario Batali inaugurated the event’s celebrity chef format, the Saint Martin’s Gala has become a tradition of epicurean excellence, with Bon Appétit Management Company as the presenting sponsor.

As the celebrity chef, Bastianich will create a gourmet menu especially for the Gala, then prepare the multi-course dinner on the Viking stage. The meal will be paired with specially selected wine and a live auction.

Long regarded as America’s “grande dame” of Italian cuisine, Bastianich is an Emmy Award-winning television host, a best-selling cookbook author and the owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business.

In 1993, Julia Child invited Bastianich 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, Bastianich parlayed her culinary expertise into her own series of public television cooking shows. She has since garnered a large audience of loyal followers. Her fourth, and current, series, Lidia’s Italy in America, earned Bastianich the 2013 Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Culinary Host.”

In 2008, Bastianich was invited to cook for Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to New York City. She called the experience a “closing of the circle,” referring to the blessing she received as a child from Pope Paul VI when she and her family traveled from a refugee camp in Italy to the Vatican before making safe passage to America.

Bastianich is co-owner of several Italian restaurants in the U.S. In partnership with her son, Joe Bastianich, and chef Mario Batali, she is part owner of Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City. The three also own Esca and Del Posto. Bastianich co-owns Becco and Felidia with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali. In addition, Bastianich is a co-owner of Lidia’s Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Lidia’s Kansas City, in Kansas City, Missouri. Bastianich and her son produce award-winning wines at Bastianich Vineyard in Friuli, Italy, and at La Mozza Vineyard in Maremma, Italy.

A prolific author, Bastianich boasts an oeuvre that includes cookbooks, companion books for her television series and children’s books. She also is founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment broadcast production company. 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.

“Lidia Bastianich is the perfect celebrity for this event,” says Roy F. Heynderickx, president of Saint Martin’s University. “Not only is she an accomplished chef, she embraces family, community, service and hospitality — all values at the core of the Saint Martin’s mission.”

Armandino Batali, a Saint Martin’s alumnus who has served as Gala co-chair since 2011, calls Bastianich a philanthropist at heart.

“Lidia generously contributes her time and talent to several foundations, including public television,” explains Batali. “We are so fortunate to have a chef of her caliber join us to support the students of Saint Martin’s.”

Last year’s Gala, featuring chef Michael Symon, raised more than $960,000. It was the third consecutive record-setting fundraiser for the University, generating more than $343,000 alone from the Feed-A-Mind paddle-raise for student scholarships.

The 2014 Gala co-chairs are Armandino ’59 and Marilyn Batali, Kathy Lombardo and Fred Wright, and Rick and Pam Panowicz.

Individual ticket and select table sales open to the public May 1. Individual tickets for the event are $400 and tables range from $3,500 to $25,000. Availability of individual tickets will be limited; those who plan to purchase tickets are encouraged to coordinate with others in advance to buy a table. Tables for 10 at the $5,000 to $25,000 level are available now as are sponsorship opportunities. For more information about table sales and sponsorships, contact Katie Wojke, interim vice president of institutional advancement at Saint Martin’s University, at 360-438-4485 or

For more details about the Saint Martin’s 2014 Gala, visit the event website at or contact Saint Martin’s University Office of Institutional Advancement at 360-486-8885 or

Join the conversation! Follow the buzz about Saint Martin’s Gala on Twitter using the hashtag #SMUGala.

To learn more about Lidia Bastianich, visit

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Jennifer Fellinger
Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager