Lauri Lyons

Author. Photographer. Director. Publisher. Teacher.
   
Location: New York, New York
Nationality: Jamaican American
Biography: Lauri Lyons was born in the Bronx, New York and traveled globally with her military family. She earned a BFA in Media Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. For many years Lauri worked as a Photo Editor for several national magazines... read on
News
Chef Lidia Bastianich's Feast of A Lifetime
lauri lyons
Nov 17, 2015
Lidia Bastianich is renowned as one of television’s most popular chefs, a restaurateur, and cookbook author. Today, she reflects on her journey, passion for food, and the expansion of her empire.

Lauri Lyons: At this time, some of the world’s most pressing issues surround war, displacement, immigration, and identity. Were you a World War II border child?

Lidia Bastianich: I was born in Allied controlled Pola. At the end of World War II the victorious wartime Allied powers, negotiated the details of peace treaties and borders with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland. The Paris Treaty was signed on February 10, 1947. I was born a few days later. The area was under Allied supervision until June of 1947, when the treaty was ratified.

Note: The Paris Treaty required Italy to cede most of Istria, including the province of Pola, where Lidia was born, to Yugoslavia. The area later became governed by the communists.

Now more than ever borders are such a discussion and problem because people are kind of left in nowhere land, like the Jerusalem incident. If you were born in Jerusalem you are not Israeli or Palestinian, so what are you? Border people go through a lot. They are unidentified, and feel unsure for the rest of their lives, and ask “Where was I born? Who am I?”

I know I’m Italian, but it’s such a predicament after wars, and it’s still going on today. I feel for all of these people around the world with the border situations and what they’re going through with their families. Having to escape, hide, and hide your identity. If only they could sit at a table together and eat each other’s food, and maybe come to some sort of moral understanding. Why do so many people have to suffer? Why is there continuous war? I’m a product of war.

Lyons: You’ve become, out of circumstance and curiosity, an anthropologist?

Bastianich: Yes, I attended classes and taught classes, in Food Anthropology at Pace University, with an anthropology professor. You can trace history by the architecture and food of a place. Food is one of those things that transcends and stays in the culture.

Lyons: With several successful TV series, you’re the queen of kitchen on PBS. What does your production schedule entail?

Bastianich: My television production company, Tavola Productions, has produced over 450 episodes. I have a production team, camera men, and producers that I have been working with for years.  Our series includes Lidia’s Italy, Lidia’s Italy In America. We shoot 26 episodes per season. Each episode of our shows attracts 2-3 million viewers. We have a worldwide audience of 50 million. Last year we won an Emmy award.

My new show Lidia Celebrates America  is in partnership with WGBH. It will feature four families' special rites of passage, marking some of the most meaningful moments in life’s journey. We learn about their culture and food, and at the end have a big group dinner. There will be special guests including Marcus Samuelsson and Stanley Tucci.

Lyons: How do you feel about the foodie culture vs. processed food culture?

Bastianich: I think one is a response to the other. With the industrial revolution the production of food was delegated to big companies, in order for women and men to be in the labour force, to come home, stick something in the oven and eat. It became a big industry that does not have a love affair with food nor is really concerned about nurturing you or giving you the right nutrition. They want you to buy and repurchase so they can make their money.

It became evident in how we feel and the lack of what we feel, like getting together at the table. There is a nostalgia for the food that grandma used to cook. This is a very intelligent time we are living in. People are becoming knowledgeable and have access to so much information. They begin to realize that there is pleasure in comparing food and there is pleasure in eating food.

I think it really comes down to the consumers. When the customer puts their money where their mouth is, when they go out, they shop, they cook, they have to buy the right ingredients. It might take a little longer, but I think we will get back on track to good healthy food and doing more of it at home.
179

By Lauri Lyons —

Events News

Virtual Class: Social Justice & Diversity in the Media

By Lauri Lyons / Virtual Remote —    Instructor : Lauri Lyons   Register: $246.00   Date Start: Tuesday, November 10,..
News

Slim Aarons: A Well Curated Life

By Lauri Lyons — Iconic photographer Slim Aarons was famous for documenting the good life. Now his daughter and former photo..
News

Soledad O'Brien Dispatches

By Lauri Lyons — TV journalist Soledad O’Brien has tirelessly crisscrossed the globe to report breaking news and..
News

Afro-Brazilian History, Beats, and Culture

By Lauri Lyons — For most people the idea of Black History month is relegated to the African-American experience in the..
News

Afropunk Takes Over the World

By Lauri Lyons — If you haven’t noticed, there is a cultural shift taking place in America, and across the globe. The..
News

Julian Lennon's Artistic Horizons

By Lauri Lyons — Julian Lennon is charting new artistic territories with his photography exhibition Horizons. Most noted as a..
News

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: A Dream in Progress

By Lauri Lyons — As a person born after the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I was not a witness to the loud calls for..
News

South Africa's Five-Star Adventures

By Lauri Lyons — Since the success of the 2010 World Cup, tourism to South Africa has dramatically increased and for the..
News

Go Wild and Green in Costa Rica

By Lauri Lyons — For many years I have been hearing that Costa Rica is a great place to go on vacation. I also heard that the..
News

Toronto Rises as the New Capital of Cool

By Lauri Lyons — If your idea of Canada is dominated by maple syrup, hockey, flannel shirts or the G-20 Summit, it's time..
News

For the Huffington Post: The Armory Shows Contemporary Art in New York

By Lauri Lyons — Since 1913, The Armory Show Art Fair has been the preeminent international exhibition of modern art in the..
News

Women in Hip-Hop

By Lauri Lyons — In the context of popular culture the history of Hip-Hop has been recited and mythologized many times over...
News

Barack Obama and the American Dream

By Lauri Lyons — The 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama was not only a bold step forward for the United States, but..
News

Flag International: Global Perspectives on the American Flag

By Lauri Lyons — What is America? It is a challenge to singularly define America because the country reinvents itself on a..
Join us
for more access