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Lidia Bastianich Makes Italian Cooking Simple & "From the Heart"

Lidia Bastianich is an Emmy award-winning public television host, a best‐selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business.";

Lidia Bastianich has offered a lot of advice to chefs and would-be chefs over the years. She’s hosted a half-dozen series of cooking shows on public television, authored almost a dozen cookbooks and owns Italian restaurants in three cities.

But she says her latest book offers something different. Comprised of a collection of recipes and lessons learned, Bastianich says her tenth book reflects what made her who she is.

"This (book) is a bit more. It's about me, my story, also my philosophy on food," she says. "It is something I want to leave with my family - my children, to have as a reference. It's from the heart."

Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine was co-authored with Bastiancih's daughter, Tanya, which she says was "very rewarding."

One thing that has not changed from one cookbook to the next is her straightforward and simple presentation. For Bastianich, it is all about cooking food for yourself and your family without being constricted by a recipe.

"A lot of people feel 'I can't cook, I can't get in the kitchen,' and that's wrong," she explains. "Everybody has a sensibility towards food, and I like to empower the home cook to bring those out."

For Bastianich, her simple approach to food has always been the best way to learn and how to teach others that they too can be accomplished in the kitchen. "I am more about leading a regular person to cook like a regular person does in Italy - like my grandmother does," she says. "And I get great pleasure of doing just that when somebody tells me, 'You know, you empowered me. I got in the kitchen, and you know what? I did it!'"

Lidia Bastianich will talk at length about her life and her craft on stage this Saturday evening at the Pabst Theater in a conversation with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich. Her latest book is called Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Great Italian Cook.  She’s also host of Lidia’s Italy on PBS, and owner of restaurants in New York, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.