Lidia Bastianich has lived the true American Dream. Her family arrived in New York City in 1958 after having escaped from Pola, Istria (in present day Croatia) when Lidia was 11 years old. Married at 19, by 25 she had two children. However, before her second child was born, the Bastianich family opened an Italian restaurant
called Buonovia, meaning “on the good road” in Forest Hills, Queens. The restaurant was so successful that the family opened a second restaurant in Queens, Villa Secondo, where Lidia both gained the notice of food critics. From there she began giving live cooking demonstrations, leading to her career as a TV cooking show hostess
In 1981, the family opened Felidia
in a small Manhattan brownstone, which received a three star review from the New York Times
in 1994, becoming one of the first women chef to receive a three star review.