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Allegrini 2018
THE STORY

Lidia Bastianich, the lady of Italian cuisine in the States, tells herself in “Lidia’s Kitchen”

Her program on Pbs is followed by 50 million Americans. Her words from Forlimpopoli, where she received the Artusi Prize
Artusi Prize, LIDIA BASTIANICH, News
Joe Bastianich, Alessandro Regoli, director of WineNews, and Lidia Bastianich

Author of best sellers with twelve cookery publications, successful businesswoman with many restaurants, Lidia Bastianich in the United States is a real ambassador of Italian cuisine, with a life dedicated to the Italian gastronomic culture, and its spread in the States, a life that today tells in its program “Lidia’s Kitchen”, on the Pbs, followed by 50 million Americans. “Americans love Italy and have seen in my personal history as an Italian a point of reference”, Lidia Bastianich from Forlimpopoli tells WineNews, where she received yesterday the Artusi Prize, an award dedicated to the father of Italian cuisine Pellegrino Artusi (who, every year, recognizes personalities who, in any capacity, stand out for the original contribution given to the reflection on the relationship between man and food). For Lidia Bastianich this recognition means a lot, since “the Artusi Manual has been a point of reference for me, it has introduced me to the Italian cuisine of the various regions. In all my restaurants there is a copy of the translated book”. That is the regional cuisine to which Lidia has dedicated time and attention, in order to “transport” her overseas in the most faithful way, as her grandmother taught her, a fundamental influence in her culinary journey: “I grew up with her in the countryside of Pula, surrounded by animals and the products of the land. When I emigrated to the United States in 1958, it was food that reminded me of my childhood, the scents of the past, the products: cooking made me feel good because it brought me back to that time gone”. And it was precisely this attachment to flavors and aromas that led her, gradually, to begin her story of Italian cuisine in America. The first restaurant dates back to 1971, Buona Vita in Queens, where Lidia worked with an Italian-American chef for 10 years. “That experience - she explains - made me understand how in America there was a lack of Italian raw materials to make real Italian cuisine. From there, I started to travel around Italy to learn about territories and products, which I continue to do every year”. The turning point came a few years later with Felidia, the restaurant in Manhattan that received everyone's attention. “A famous journalist intrigued by our Italian regional proposals gave us a very positive review, and so came the spotlight. Felidia was so successful that Julia Child came to dinner at the restaurant with James Beard, one of the most famous American critics. They ate my risotto, she asked me to teach Americans on television how to do it. We made two episodes, the first dedicated to the risotto, the second to the orecchiette (typical short, ear-shaped pasta from Puglia). That’s how my presence on TV was born, which has been going on for 20 years”.
Her passion for the territory and its fruits also led her, in 1997, to start up the wine business, with her son Joe, in Friuli, after years of searching for the best Friulian white wines for the wine list of her restaurants: 40 hectares of vineyards between Buttrio, Premariacco and Cividale del Friuli, in the DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli, where for years elegant and aromatic white wines are born, among the best oenological expressions of the Italian wine sector.

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