Lidia Bastianich has been described as the reigning queen of Italian cuisine in America. She is the host of cooking shows on PBS, including Lidia's Italy, a new 26-episode series which features American and Italian chefs preparing regional Italian dishes.
Bastianichs family fled Communist Istria in 1956 and became political refugees in Italy, before moving to the United States. Bastianich trained in kitchens in New York City and opened her first restaurant with her husband at the age of 24. Since then, she has opened several restaurants, including Felidia and Becco. She has also authored several cookbooks including Lidia's Family Table and Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen.
Lidia Bastianich: I think that to create, I first need to take in, and learn, and assimilate. And on that basis then, I have to give myself a place or a situation to create. For me, I think time with myself, with nature – specifically the sea, the water – classical music. Music really sets me in a great state of creation. Traveling. Traveling. Different cultures will stimulate creativity in the basis of information that I have. So I see something, “Oh I can do this. Or this will be better this way.” So I think it’s taking time to nourish oneself physically and mentally. One is able to reproduce . . . produce ideas.
Recorded on: 10/4/07