Name: Lidia Bastianich
Neighborhood: Little Neck
Occupation: Public television host of Lidia’s Italy, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author. The QVC launch for her new servingware line, “Lidia’s Kitchen,” premieres this Sunday, October 24.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Presently, I’m currently enchanted by the celestial voice of Renée Fleming.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
A perfectly pinched pork and duck dumpling from this little Chinese restaurant in Flushing, on Main Street. It literally exploded in my mouth upon first bite, and each thereafter. Absolutely delicious!
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
A lot of tasting of wine and food. If I’m not tasting wine and food I’m thinking about wine and food. If I’m not thinking about wine and food I’m writing about wine and food. If I’m not writing about wine and food I’m communicating about wine and food.
What was your first job in New York ?
I was a salesgirl, at 14 years old, at Walken’s Bakery in Astoria. Hiring age was 16 years old, but I had lied about my age — since I was a big girl — and promptly starting working alongside Christopher, Ken, and Ron [Walken]. Was a fantastic time in my life!
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
A Behanding in Spokane with Christopher Walken.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
Only to old ladies.
What’s your drink?
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Probably three times a week whether breakfast, or lunch, or a late-night snack.
What’s your favorite medication?
Omega-3 fish oil or turmeric mixed in with a glass of milk before bed.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
A pear still life by Mario Donizetti, a contemporary Italian Realist.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
$125 and above. Helio de Souza at Concept Salon does a great job, and always stays in my price range.
When I have said good-night to all of my customers, and all the events of the day are finished.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
The new Times Square — I get to enjoy the bustling energy all around me when I’m en route to Becco, but I must admit that the spectacle of the Naked Cowboy strumming his guitar is certainly missing.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I’m thinking of a new haircut for him right now.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
The noise of the honking cars and impatient drivers.
Who is your mortal enemy?
Time. Just not having enough of it. I always seem to be chasing it.
When’s the last time you drove a car?
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It has me and I’m sure many others surely reassessing priorities and values.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
Wherever I appear that day! LOL.
Where do you go to be alone?
For short-distance, simply having coffee and chatting with “Grandma,” my 90-year-old mother, and then for long-distance, sailing the Adriatic. It’s my solace.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
Passionate yet resilient. Generous yet hard-nosed. Adventurous yet self-assured. Work hard and yet play hard. One needs to be outgoing and gregarious, and yet be able to seek solitude when needed. One should feed off of the cultural stimuli of this great city, and be able to turn it into personal creativity.