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Lidia Bastianich
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    (1947- )
    Birth name was Lidia Mattichio (Motika)
    Resides in Queens, New York
    Hosts 'Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen' on PBS
    Owns four restaurants: Felida (New York), Becco (New York), Lidia's Kansas City and Lidia's Pittsburgh
    Wrote 'Lidia's Italian Table (1998),' 'La Cucina di Lidia (2000)' and 'Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen (2001)'
    She is manly, with a deep voice, thick arms and meaty hands.
    For a woman, she is quite bald.
    Although she markets herself as an Italian chef, she is technically an ethnic Croat.
    On her show, she often gobbles food out of her hands while cooking.
    She hates curry.
    She is no-nonsense and down-to-earth.
    Her cooking technique is simple and solid.
    She grew up poor.
    When Yugoslavia annexed her home region, she wound up in a refugee camp.
    As a teenager, she worked in a bakery owned by Christopher Walken's parents, and they are still good friends.
    She was one of the first chefs in the US to serve authentic Italian food.
    She has been called 'the First Lady of Italian cuisine.'
    She has won many cooking awards.

Credit: Wieland Kalligaro

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