We all know Catholics have done a lot of great work. Example: When celebrated chef Lidia Bastianich was a child, Catholic Charities brought her and her family to New York from a refugee camp in Italy, where they had been living after fleeing what was then Communist Yugoslavia.
And now, a great Catholic Nashvillian (and more importantly to me, great cook) is teaming up with Bastianich for a special dinner event, right here in Nashville! Nick Pellegrino, the mastermind mind behind the stellar Italian feast known as Mangia Nashville, will be hosting Bastianich on Sunday, April 22. The two fabulous Italian cooks — one a local legend, one an international legend — will join forces to create a five-course meal to benefit one of my favorite local institutions, Nashville Public Television. The $150 ticket "includes wine and sparkling water and a casual environment to meet with Bastianich and fellow diners — while dancing and singing along to Italian American classics." Another $30 gets you a personalized copy of Lidia’s Italy in America.
Is it a stretch to try to hang this post on Rick Santorum and Catholicism? Absolutely! And that's what you get when Bites lets a wannabe Borscht Belt comic write posts. (Never mind that the Borscht Belt pretty much fizzled three decades ago. I prefer to live in denial.)
But is it a stretch to say this could very well wind up being Nashville's premier dining event of the year? Not by a long shot. Bastianich is one of the world's most-respected chefs of Italian cuisine, and she was a culinary TV star on PBS long before the current slew of cable food shows had cluttered the airwaves. She's a partner with Mario Batali and others in New York's Eataly, and she owns several highly regarded eateries in Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.
(Interesting sidenote: Bastianich worked with Christoper Walken in Walken's father's bakery in Queens — and Pellegrino happens to be the best Walken impersonator Nashville has to offer.)
Information and tickets are available here. The press release, after the jump:
Lidia Bastianich Brings Lidia’s Italy to Mangia Nashville
Famed chef, cookbook author and restaurateur joins forces with Mangia Nashville to make a memorable night for NPT
Nashville, TN — March 1, 2012 — Named “Nashville’s Best Weekly Food Event” by the Nashville Scene, Mangia Nashville is about to become the best food event of the year. Famed Italian chef, best-selling cookbook author and PBS personality Lidia Bastianich will join Mangia Nashville chef Nick Pellegrino to create a special five-course meal to benefit Nashville Public Television. The event will take place on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. at Cool Cafe, 1110 Hillsboro Road Suite B200 in Franklin. The $150 per person dinner includes wine and sparkling water and a casual environment to meet with Bastianich and fellow diners — while dancing and singing along to Italian American classics. For an additional $30 per person, diners can purchase a copy of Lidia’s Italy in America personalized by the author at the event.
Tickets for the limited-seating event can be purchased now at wnpt.org/lidia.
Lidia Bastianich is one of the best-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Lidia has married her two passions in life — her family and food, to create multiple culinary endeavors alongside her two children, Joseph and Tanya.
Her cookbooks include Lidia’s Italy in America, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy and Lidia’s Italy — all companion books to the PBS television series, “Lidia’s Italy in America” and “Lidia’s Italy” as well as Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian- American Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian Table and La Cucina di Lidia. She is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants - Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City. Along with her son, Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti, the team opened Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City, transforming a 42,500 square‐ foot space in the Flatiron District into New York City’s premier culinary mecca. Lidia has taken her passion for education and enrichment through food, making culinary classes, at La Scuola di Eataly, a defining focus of Eataly. Along with her daughter Tanya, and son-in-law Corrado Manuali, Lidia launched Nonna Foods as a platform to distribute an array of both existing and new LIDIA’S food products. The line highlights a passion for all things pasta, with seven original varieties of homemade pasta sauce, and eight different cuts of pasta, sold nationally. Together with her son, Lidia also produces award-winning wines at Bastianich Vineyard in Friuli and La Mozza Vineyard in Maremma, Italy.
Begun a year ago by Staten Island, N.Y. native Nick Pellegrino — a longtime musician, songwriter and manager — and sold out now months in advance, Mangia Nashville (“mangia” in Italian translates to “you eat”) is a weekly fixed-price, five-course home-style Italian feast served every Friday and Saturday night at Cool Cafe in Franklin. The family-style event has been feted for its authenticity and abundance of food and jovial atmosphere, in which Pellegrino leads sing-a-longs and gets even the most resistant of diners to get up and dance and do their best Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons impression. The event has been praised in the Nashville Scene, the Tennessean, Southern Exposure, Her Nashville and Nashville Post.
For questions about the event, email RSVP@wnpt.org or leave a message on our NPT Events line 615-687-9955.
For more about Lidia Bastianich please visit lidiasitaly.com.
For more about Mangia Nashville, please visit facebook.com/MangiaNashville