L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-1-12-2017

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2017 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS me, before my schedule begins. We talk; I ask her how she is feeling. My mother is lucid, well-versed and does the cross- word puzzle every morning." Like many Italian women, fami- ly has been Lidia's primary focus and motivation in life. "I have my family with me and that's a big push, an addendum to move forward" she explained. "My son Joe and my daughter Tanya, had their own positions in life, outside of the restaurant business, until they decided to apply their knowledge and carry on what we started here way back as a family." Joe Bastianich, who has established his own television career as a judge on food shows, worked on Wall Street before entering the family business while his sister, a graduate of Georgetown University, later earned her PhD in Italian Renaissance Art from Oxford University. Both decided to help their mother with new ideas in the restaurant business whether in cookbooks that Tanya helps write, or managing their moth- er's Tavola Productions LLC. Some of their other ideas to expand Lidia's brand include: a variety of pastas and sauces as well as Bastianich Vespa Bianco and Rosso wine. "Joe has a great deal of knowledge with wine, so he decided to invest in an Italian vineyard," Lidia said proudly. The vineyard is located in Buttrio, a town in the Friuli- Venezia Giulia region. I had noticed the 2010 Vespa Bianco displayed at the end of the restaurant's mahogany bar once I walked in to check my coat. While I waited for Lidia, I was curious about tasting the Bastianich brand and requested a glass. I usually prefer red wines but Vespa had an interesting fruity aromatic smell and taste that was verified by one of the bar attendants. They and the manager were dressed in dark colored suits with solid navy blue ties contrasted with white collared shirts. Felidia opened in 1981 through the concept of both Lidia and former husband Felice, (hence the restaurant's name Felidia is a combination of their two first names) and bought a brownstone in Manhattan that the family still owns, with the intention of opening Felidia on the first floor. Felice Bastianich, who passed away in 2010, had the vision of owning an Italian restaurant in Manhattan and Lidia expanded the idea into a national brand. "It all started in 1971: we h a d o p e n e d t h e f i r s t o f t w o r e s t a u r a n t s i n Q u e e n s , N e w York" she said smiling with a sense of nostalgia. The couple developed a popular local clien- tele in Queens but eventually sold both restaurants to open Felidia where Lidia became the primary chef. Felice and Lidia married in 1966 but the pres- Lidia Bastianich is an Emmy award-winning television host, best-selling cookbook author, and restaurateur Continued to page 3 Continued from page 1

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