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Meet Lidia Bastianich

by Karen Tortora-Lee on October 29, 2009

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In the early part of the century (yes, that would be the year 2000) I became fascinated with Lidia Bastianich and made a point of telling everyone that I wanted to go to her restaurant, Felidia (243 E. 58th New York, NY 10022).

People tend to like me (what can I say?) so everyone made a point of trying to get reservations there.  When I went for lunch with some co-workers my boss asked if Lidia was around and would she sign a cookbook?  We were told that Lidia was back in her office, but the book was sent back there and arrived at our table at the end of the meal autographed, with a personal inscription, wrapped in tissue paper.  We were thrilled.

A few months later I returned and this time I bumped smack dab into Lidia herself in the ladies room with my friend.  Lidia was personable, lovely and sweet.  When we told her we were with a little boy (celebrating his birthday) who adored her and wanted to be a chef when he grew up she made a special stop at our table later on to wish him a happy birthday and give him encouragement.

I went to Felidia one more time and got to see her again, but this time she was hosting

an ambassador and couldn’t do more than shake our hands (graciously, but distractedly).  I didn’t hold it against her.  I still think she’s wonderful.

For those not as lucky as I am to have bumped into her twice, you’ll have your chance next week because Lidia Bastianich will be at the uptown Williams-Sonoma store for a special book signing event, signing copies of her new cookbook, Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes.
Date:  Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Time:  5:00pm
Store:  Williams-Sonoma 59th and Lexington
121 E 59th St., NY, NY 10022
(917) 369-1131

Tell her Karen says “hi!”

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

SerenaNo Gravatar October 30, 2009 at 10:22 am

I love Lidia! I’m a much bigger fan of the PBS chefs/cooks than the celeb chefs the Food Network produces.

Karen Tortora-LeeNo Gravatar October 30, 2009 at 11:36 am

And Lidia really is as she appears on TV – kind, friendly, charming … which is more than I can say for Martha Stewart who appears all … well … I’m not sure what to term her … but let’s say she appears APPROACHable on TV and then when she came to my place of business to host a cooking event she was dour, frowny, uncool — we were raising money for charity! Gosh, plaster on a fake smile, it’s for a good cause!

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