Voicings - Lidia Bastianich
Television chef and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich has always been an enthusiastic advocate for Italian cuisine. Along with her children, Joseph and Tanya, Bastianich has developed a vast empire of culinary resources, including PBS’s Lidia’s Italy, six restaurants, and New York’s artisanal marketplace, Eataly. Her latest cookbook, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking (Knopf, 2013; $18.99), is out this fall, along with the new PBS series Lidia’s Kitchen and her special Lidia Celebrates America.
"My father loved his espresso coffee. He would drink it three times a day. He had his little Napoletana coffeemaker and a whole ritual of setting up the table. This was very, very important. So I grew up with that, and maybe it’s part of why I am passionate about food, because I realized that food is much more than simple nourishment. Food is the identity of who we are; food is the memories."
"There’s not one recipe that I’ve invented. I’ve modified a lot of them. The Italian culture has a tremendous patrimony of recipes and traditions. For me it’s about going there, researching, tasting, asking questions, then coming back and pulling the recipes together and testing them."
"When we opened Felidia [restaurant] in 1981, Julia Child would come in with James Beard. We became friends, and she asked me whether I would do some shows with her. I did two episodes of the Master Chef series, and I had a great time. That’s when the producer said, “You’re pretty good. How about a show?”"
"I always say that one of the easiest ways to bring a culture into your house . . . is to go to the artisanal products. If you bring a great piece of Grana Padano to the table, you don’t need to do anything to it. It’s perfect."
"Sometimes people ask me, “If you’re going to have your last meal, what would it be?” I’d say a few things, but I have this recollection of a perfectly ripe Gorgonzola with a fresh fig jam and a piece of crusty bread. I think I’d go to heaven with that."
"When you look at [Julia Child] on television, she was all about wanting the viewer to understand, to connect. If anything, this is what I aspire to."Interview by Katie Aberbach