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Lidia Bastianich

Biographical Note

The acclaimed cookbook author, television personality, restaurateur, chef and businesswoman Lidia Bastianich was a little girl when the Catholic Charities rescued her family from a Displaced Persons camp in Italy and brought them to the United States after their native Istria was was absorbed by Yugoslavia and communism.

Growing up in Queens, Bastianich originally hoped to become a pediatrician. But years helping to cook for her family, a part-time job in a local bakery while she was still in school and marriage to an Italian man working in the restaurant business reoriented her life.

Today she is one of the best-known chefs in the United States, thanks to her ongoing popular cooking programs on PBS and her many cookbooks. With her son Joseph Bastianich and chef Mario Batali, she is also a partner in a mini-empire of Italian restaurants in New York, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

This interview tracks over her early life in Italy and America, her young adulthood, her marriage and first restaurants in Queens with her husband, their entry into the New York restaurant world with the acclaimed Felidia, the challenges of being a mother at the same time she ran the restaurant and the growth of her business since then. Throughout it all, Bastianich has made her family an important part of her business and of her television series.

Access Points

Bastianich, Joesph
Bastianich, Lidia
Batali, Mario
Manuali, Tanya Bastianich
Nicotra, Fortunato

Felidia (Restaurant)

Cooking, Italian
Dinners and dining
Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
Restaurant management
Television cooking shows
Yugoslavia -- Emigration and immigration

Interview 1, March 24, 2011

Box: Electronic Records, E-records: MSS_309.ref139.1 (Material Type: electronic records)

Interview 2, April 4, 2011

Box: Electronic Records, E-records: MSS_309.ref204.1 (Material Type: electronic records)
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012