Queens Magazine

Queens Magazine Fall/Winter 2012/13

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Savoring Success Lidia Bastianich presides over a culinary empire By Leslie Jay Large measures of talent and hard work and a dash of good timing has been a winning recipe for celebrated chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, who studied at QC in the 1970s and 1980s. Dubbed "the queen of Italian-American cooking" by the New York Times, she is involved in a growing network of acclaimed restaurants and retail operations, many in partnership with her children Joseph and Tanya. Her ninth book, Lidia's Favorites, has just been released. Like so many QC alums, Bastianich embodies the immigrant success story. Born in Istria—a part of Italy that was largely absorbed by Yugoslavia after World War II—she was only 10 when her family fled the Iron Curtain for a refugee camp in Trieste. Two years later, the Matticchios immigrated to the United States. "No one sponsored us," Bastianich recalls. "A distant relative found a place for us in Astoria." Settled in an Italian-American community where churches held masses in their native language, the family adapted to their new home. Lidia did well enough at William Cullen Bryant High School to get a scholarship to Hunter College. "I loved science," she says. "I thought I'd go into that." Her plans changed when, halfway through her studies, she married fellow Istrian immigrant Felice Bastianich. He was Authentic Italian cuisine emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients. 16 QUEENS: The Magazine of Queens College

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