Lidia Bastianich is the author of thirteen beloved cookbooks and the Emmy award-winning host of public television’s Lidia’s Kitchen.
This in-conversation event will be moderated by food writer Molly Wizenberg.
All ticket orders (except, Student, Create-Your-Own Subscriptions, and complimentary tickets) include a copy of My American Dream. Book and ticket packages are available for 1 book/2 tickets, or 1 ticket/1 book.
Chef, author, and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich has been a beloved public figure for decades, but she has never told her full story until now, in her memoir My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food (Knopf, April 2018).
Lidia grew up behind the Iron Curtain in post-World War II Istria, in many ways enjoying an idyllic childhood—it was an old world life, spent close to the land in her grandmother’s backyard and in vineyards, orchards, and courtyards. But it did not last. When she was only ten years old her family became targets of Yugoslavia’s communist regime and were forced to flee. Lidia, her brother, and her parents left their home, belongings, and the rest of the family behind, sneaking across the border to Italy. Not knowing if they would ever see home again, they spent two years in a refugee camp in Trieste waiting for visas to the United States. Finally, they arrived in New York in 1958, settling first in New Jersey and then in Queens with the help of the Catholic Charities.
Despite the pain of losing her home and her country, Lidia found her way, in one of the great American success stories of all time. Starting with a single restaurant in Queens she opened with her husband in the 1970s, Lidia worked full time as a chef while raising a family, becoming one of the first female chefs to emerge on the male-dominated New York restaurant scene. Through ups and downs—including near financial ruin when struggling to open Felidia in 1981—she eventually grew the business to heights she could never have imagined. Her successes include many bestselling cookbooks, her show Lidia’s Kitchen on PBS, now in its twentieth year, restaurants including Becco and Del Posto, and the ever-expanding Eataly chain. And thirty-six years later, Felidia remains a thriving New York mainstay.
An ambassador for Italian cuisine and culture and a passionate chef and businesswoman who has grounded her career in her family, Lidia continues to demonstrate the hard work, determination, and optimism that have characterized her entire life. Written with her trademark warmth and spirit, My American Dream is an inspiring and revelatory memoir from a remarkable woman.
Molly Wizenberg is the author of the James Beard Award-winning blog Orangette and two New York Times bestselling books, A Homemade Life and Delancey. She has written for Bon Appetit, The Washington Post, The Art of Eating, Cherry Bombe, and more, and she also co-hosts (with Matthew Amster-Burton) the hit food-and-comedy podcast Spilled Milk. Molly lives in Seattle, where she co-founded (with chef Brandon Pettit) the restaurants Delancey and Essex. She’s currently at work on her third book.