For millions of Americans, Lidia Bastianich has represented Italian cuisine for decades. It has been an indefatigable standard-bearer through cookbooks, popular TV shows, restaurants. Behind her success there is an adventurous and dramatic story, which Lidia, with her optimism, courage and tenacity, has transformed into an exemplary story. Born in Pula, she lived a happy childhood: in her grandmother’s courtyard she instinctively learned the inseparable relationship that binds nature, culture and food. With the annexation of Istria to Yugoslavia, her family is forced to flee to the refugee camp of the San Sabba rice mill. It’s all gloomy, claustrophobic, but the little girl doesn’t stop hoping for a better future, which for her has a precise name: America. There is the land of opportunity: education, home, work. Finally, in 1958, thanks to Caritas, Lidia lands in New York. She is eleven years old and a whole life ahead. The early days are tough, but she, smiling and stubborn, seeks her place in the world and begins by working in a bakery. And from here her unstoppable ascendant unfolds: two restaurants in Queens, founded together with her husband Felice. Then, in 1981, the successful opening of Felidia in Manhattan.
In 2020 her autobiography “Il mio sogno americano” (Solferino) is released in Italy, a story of adventures and determination, in the name of the work of love for the family. In this sincere and touching book, Lidia tells us her very personal version of the American dream. Her voice accompanies us through the difficulties and battles that led to the construction of a real empire. But also to cook for two Popes, to play a leading role in the Italian-American community, to become an attentive and affectionate mother and grandmother. Without ever ceasing, along the way, to give millions of people the irreplaceable pleasure of a good dish to enjoy with those you love.