Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is widely regarded as the "First Lady of Italian cuisine and restaurants in the United States." She was born in Pola, Istria, a region formed by the Gulf of Trieste at the juncture of Italy and the former Yugoslavia, and she came to New York in 1958. Her television show, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, began airing in January, 2001 and is accompanied by her third cookbook by the same name, released in October 2001 (Knopf). Lidia’s Italian Table was released in September 1998 together with a companion book of the same name (William Morrow, 1998). In addition, Lidia is the author of the monthly column, Lidia’s Italian Table, distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.
Lidia is also considered an acclaimed chef and restaurateur. She is the owner of the award-winning Felidia restaurant and, with her son Joseph, runs the very popular theater district eatery Becco. Lidia is also a partner in Esca restaurant with her son Joseph and Mario Batali. Lidia and Joseph’s first venture outside of New York City was at Lidia’s Kansas City, with managing partner David Wagner, a native of Kansas City. The restaurant, which has now also expanded to Lidia’s Pittsburgh, combines the cuisines of both Felidia and Becco restaurants. The concept of Lidia’s will continue to expand in other mid-size cities across the U.S. during the upcoming years.