Lidia Bastianich is a renowned Italian-American chef, TV host, best-selling author, and restaurateur who has received numerous awards. She has hosted several popular television shows such as Lidia’s Italy, Lidia’s Italy in America, Lidia’s Kitchen, and Lidia Celebrates America. As a popular restaurateur, she operates many Italian restaurants in the US, including Felidia, Del Posto, and Becco. Bastianich has been a frequent contributor to public television cooking shows since 1998, specializing in Italian and Italian-American cuisine. She has written/co-authored many books over the years, including cookbooks, children literature, and even a memoir.

Lidia Bastianich Bio

Lidia Bastianich was born on 21 February 1947, in Pula City on the Istrian peninsula. Her brother’s name is Franco. The city was originally part of Italy, but in 1947 it fell under the control of Yugoslavia. Her family suffered under Yugoslavia’s communist dictatorship. They were unable to speak their native Italian language and even had to change their surname to Motika from Matticchio. The family fled to Trieste, Italy, in 1956 and became refugees in Risiera di San Sabba. Her mother worked as a cook-housekeeper for the next two years and her father as a chauffeur. She helped in her school kitchen herself. The family finally moved to the US in 1958, with the support of their sponsors, Catholic Relief Agencies, and settled in Queens, New York.

Full nameLidia Matticchio Bastianich
Date of birthFebruary 21, 1947
Age73 years old as of 2021
Birth signPisces
Birth PlacePula, Italy
Famous as Chef
Marital StatusDivorced (Felix Bastianich)
Social MediaInstagram/ Twitter
Net WorthApproximately $16 million
Lidia Bastianich Career 

Lidia Bastianich, at the age of fourteen, started working part-time. She also worked at a bakery owned by the father of actor/director Christopher Walken for some time. She became a full-time employee at a pizzeria in Manhattan after graduating high school. The now-married couple, Lidia and Felix Bastianich opened their first restaurant, Buonavia  in Queens in 1971. The restaurant served Italian-American food. One year later, she began training at the restaurant as an assistant chef.

The opening of the Buonavia became successful and paved the way for a second restaurant in Queens – Villa Secondo. The restaurant became even more popular and gained food critics’ attention. She started offering demonstrations of live cooking too. In a major move in 1981, the couple sold off both of their Queens restaurants and opened a new one in Manhattan. It was renamed Felidia and ultimately became their flagship restaurant (combining Felice and Lidia).

The year 1993 was important because her son, Joseph, decided to leave his job as a Wall Street bond trader to open another Manhattan restaurant in partnership with his parents at that time. The restaurant, Becco, was a big success once again. It was also in 1993 that Lidia Bastianich was invited to the show by Julia Child, a well-known American TV personality and cooking instructor. Her performance in the show Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs show gave her immense confidence to build her own business further. Two more restaurants have been opened. The first, Lidia’s Kansas City, was opened in 1998, and the second, Lidia’s Pittsburgh, opened in 2001. Again, in 1998, her first television program, Lidia’s Italian Table started airing on public television.

Since then, she has been doing more public television programs, including two seasons of Lidia’s Family Table (2005-2006) and Lidia’s Italy (2007-2010). In 2010, Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen: Nonna Tell Me a Story, was broadcast on Public Television, produced a TV short for children by her production company – Tavola Productions.

In 2010, a partnership between Italian business magnate Oscar Farinetti, Lidia, and her son Joseph led to the opening of the largest Italian artisanal food and wine marketplace, Eataly in New York. It provides visitors with an opportunity to shop for high-quality fresh produce, Italian houseware, and wines. It also offers cooking classes and organizes tours. Eataly opened in numerous other cities in subsequent years, including Chicago (2013), another in New York (2016), Boston (2016), Los Angeles (2017), Las Vegas (2018), Toronto (2019), and the newest in Dallas (2020).

In 2010, Lidia launch her line called Lidia’s Kitchen of commercial cookware and serving ware. She launched Nonna foods in partnership with her daughter, Tanya, and son-in-law Corrado Manuali, making available LIDIA’s food products : artisanal pasta and all-natural sauces.

Lidia Bastianich Cookbooks and TV Shows

She began hosting an hour-long television documentary series for Public Television, Lidia Celebrates America, beginning in 2011. These include Life’s Milestones (2013), Holiday for Heroes (2016), Holiday Tables & Traditions (2011), Weddings-Something Borrowed, Something New (2012), Freedom & Independence (2013), Homegrown Heroes (2017), A Heartland Holiday Feast (2018) and The Artisans’ Return (2019). She has been an executive producer for the show since 2012.

She was also the host and executive producer of Lidia’s Italy in America shows (2011-2012) and Lidia’s Kitchen shows (2013-2020). On Amazon Prime, several episodes of the latter show are now available. She also has a YouTube channel where she posts videos of her own life, family, Italian food, and restaurants.

Lidia Bastianich YouTube

Over the years, Lidia Bastianich co-authored numerous cookbooks with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali. These include Lidia’s Italy in America (2011), Lidia’s Favorite Recipes (2012), Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking (2013), Lidia’s Italy (2007), Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy (2009), Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine (2015) and Lidia’s celebrate Like an Italian (2017).

Lidia Bastianich YouTube

The two co-authored their first restaurant cookbook, Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant, in 2019, along with Fortunato Nicotra. Her other work as an author includes cookbooks such as Lidia’s Italian Table (1998), La Cucina di Lidia (with Jay Jacobs, 2003), Lidia’s Family Table (2004) and Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen (2010), Nonna Tell Me A Story (2010), Nonna’s Birthday Surprise (2013) and Lidia’s Egg-Citing Farm Adventure (2015). She also published her memoir, My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food (2018).

Lidia Bastianich Controversies

Bastianich was charged in 2011 withholding an indentured servant. In 2012, the ensuing case was tossed out by a lower court that held that the plaintiff was not a slave because in lieu of getting paid, she received health care, room and board, and other benefits. The defendant later withdraw the key charges of the case.

Lidia Bastianich Awards and Accomplishments

For her shows Lidia’s Italy (2013) and Lidia’s Kitchen (2018), Lidia Bastianich twice bagged the coveted Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Host. Lidia has received seven James Beard awards in numerous categories, including Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America (1996), Best Chef in New York (1999), Best Outstanding Chef (2002), Best Cooking Show (Lidia’s Italy, 2009), and Best Special (for Lidia Celebrates America series in 2016, 2017 and 2018).

Senator George Onorato honored her with the title of First Lady of the U.S. Italian Cuisine and Restaurants in 2002. She was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013. Her Lidia Celebrates America series has received three Telly Awards (2011, 2014, 2018), two New York Festival Awards (2013, 2019), and three Taste Awards (2012, 2016, 2017).  She was awarded two awards in 2019 – Master of the Aesthetics of Gastronomy Award from the Culinary Institute of America and the Scientific Committee of Casa Artusi’s Premio Artusi Award.

Lidia Bastianich Philanthropy

Lidia is a member of the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and Les Dames d’Escoffier which are nonprofit organizations. Also, she is a supporter of the Adopt-A-Future initiative of the United Nations Association of the United States of America. BoysGrow and the United Nations Development Fund for Women are both supported by Bastianich and has hosted benefit dinners for both organizations. Lidia is a member of the National Organizations of Italian American Women’s Distinguished Board. She has also been involved with the Italian American Committee on Education.

Lidia Bastianich Relationship

In her Sweet Sixteen, Lidia was introduced to her future husband, a fellow immigrant from Istria named Felix Bastianich. At around the same time as Lidia, Felix also left Istria, and they wed in 1966. In 1971, in Forest Hills, Queens, the couple opened their first restaurant, a small Italian spot called Buonavia. In 1998, they divorced (reportedly over disputes about expanding the company), and Felix died in 2010. She has two children, Joe Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.

Lidia Bastianich Social media

Lidia is active on Instagram with an account, lidiabastianich with 269k followers. On Twitter, she has 48.1k followers (joined in June 2010). She has 576k followers in Facebook. She also has a YouTube account where she shared everything about her life, family, restaurants, and Italian food.

Lidia Bastianich Net Worth 

Lidia has many revenue sources, including the Becco and Felidia restaurant chain which are scattered across New York and Kansas. She is a best-selling writer as well. One of her books on Amazon,’ La Cucina di Lidia,’ retails for $7.57. As a novel, Nonna Tell me a Story even goes on Amazon for $16. She is entitled to royalties from her published works. Her total net worth is approximately $16 million as of 2020. Earlier, her net worth was $10 million was her net worth.

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