Sunday, June 23, on the occasion of the first day of the Fancy Food Show, La Voce di New York met Chef Lidia Bastianich–naturalized American, but Italian by birth and heart. Writer and host of cooking shows since 1998, she specializes in the cuisine of the Bel Paese and in the Italian-American cuisine.
Lidia has opened several successful restaurants in partnership with her children. Some of those establishments, such as “Felidia”, “Del Posto” and “Becco”, are in the Big Apple. She is also official Partner of Eataly and much more. She remains one of the most influential women in the food and restaurant industry not only in the USA or in Italy, but in all the continents. Yesterday Lidia was a guest– “Queen of the Champions” — at the Italian Pavilion, on the occasion of the ribbon cutting that opened the sixty-seventh edition.
We asked Lidia what she expected from this Fancy Food exposition, and she responded: “It is essential, not only for me but for all those who want to eat Italian food and who want to have authentic restaurants, to rediscover the traditional product”. Then she explained that, “As far as Italy is concerned, there are still hidden niches that are slowly being discovered. An example is fish sauce, especially anchovy sauce, but also the ‘ nduja calabrese, and some very good cheeses from Italian regions (just think of the Sardinian pecorini and pepati). Italy has kept itself busy and it grew so much in this exhibition, bringing to America the right products, those that the country wants and really needs”.
We then change the topic to focus on one of the subjects most dear to her heart, and that in recent years has taken hold not only in Italy, but also in the USA and in the rest of the world: Slow Food.
Lidia believes that it is a very good Association. She has even collaborated with Carlo Petrini, the founder, from the beginning of the project: “I believe that preserving the traditions of Italian foods and the craftsmanship of the products is really important; today everything is becoming homogenized, so we should pay particular attention to the identities that are being lost”.
We also ask if she believes that ‘slow food’ is a phenomenon adaptable to America, where it is slowly expanding. According to her, “It is actually an Association that is already present in America, it’s going well for now, although it’s still rather slight. I think that there’s a good chance that it will work, that Americans will realize that small producers who have awareness of what they produce are also the ones who have more value; a value that you will find not only in the taste of the product, but also at the level of genuineness and nutrition”.
On this positive note we say good bye to this great woman who for many years has not only devoted herself to the world of food with great passion, but in the process strengthened Italian culture and traditions in the world.
Translation by Yulia Lapina