Lidia Bastianich To Be Honored at Upcoming Dinner

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Chef Lidia Bastianich, “First Lady of Italian Cuisine,” will be one of the honorees at the first annual gala to benefit The Montfort Academy of Katonah. The event will take place on Sunday, May 4 from 1-6 p.m. at Maestro’s Caterers in the Bronx. For more information or tickets, call 914-767-0325. Here’s the press release:
CHEF LIDIA BASTIANICH, “FIRST LADY OF ITALIAN CUISINE,” TO BE HONORED AT FIRST ANNUAL GALA FOR MONTFORT ACADEMY

(Katonah, NY)- – Chef Lidia Bastianich, “First Lady of Italian Cuisine,” will be honored at The Montfort Academy’s first annual gala on Sunday, May 4 from 1-6 p.m. at Maestro’s Caterers in the Bronx. The event, called “Celebrate the Angels,” will benefit The Montfort Academy, Westchester’s only classical high school.

The Renaissance-inspired gala will honor Ms. Bastianich, top chef, author and television personality, for her appreciation of Italian culture and language, which is an educational emphasis at Montfort. The Academy offers senior students a unique four-week summer archeological study program in Italy, and Ms. Bastianich will speak about the regions and regional foods of Sicily, Rome and Abruzzi, where the students will tour this summer.

Also being honored at the gala are pianist Pierluigi Sampietro of St. Gregory’s Parish in Harrison, who has given private concerts for Pope Benedict, and Monsignor Hilary Franco, the pastor of St. Augustine’s Parish in Ossining.

Founded in 2002, The Montfort Academy has been named one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in America for the past three years. The school is one of only three in New York State to earn the prestigious designation in 2007, which is awarded by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty.

“This is a success story for any school, but remarkable for a school that began just six years ago,” says David Petrillo, headmaster at The Montfort Academy. “This gala celebrates the school’s success and will help ensure its future growth.”

The Montfort Academy is an award-winning classical high school for boys and girls. Its purpose is to promote the highest ideals of scholarship, sportsmanship, moral development and citizenship, providing its students with a classical education that will last a lifetime.

“As an independent Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of New York faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, we guide each student to ‘Seek Wisdom, Practice Virtue and Keep the Faith,'” says Petrillo.

In 2008, Montfort Academy seniors have been accepted to such colleges as New York University’s general studies and their prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, Baylor University, Boston College, Drexel, Fordham University, Manhattan College, Providence College, RPI, SUNY Binghamton, and the University of Pittsburgh Honors College.

The gala will begin with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing and a live auction. Cost per ticket is $300. For more information on the “Celebrate the Angels” gala, or to order tickets, please call 914-767-0325.

About Chef Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich came to the U.S. with her parents and brother from Pola, Istria, a peninsula 90 miles north of Venice that is now a part of Croatia, when she was 12 years old. Over the years, the region has belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy and Yugoslavia. This duality has been the major influence for Lidia and her approach to food. Fluent in both Italian and Croatian, she grew up with the flavors of both cuisines.

In addition to her role as one of the best-lov ed chefs on television, she is a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Her cookbooks include Lidia’s Italy (a companion cookbook to her most recent television series), Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian Table and La Cucina di Lidia.

Lidia is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants-Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. She is also founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces broadcast productions including “Lidia’s Italy.” In addition, she has developed her own line of specialty sauces that are sold at retail establishments nationally. Together with her son Joseph, she produces award-winning wines at their Bastianich Vineyards and La Mozza Vineyards. With her daughter Tanya and Shelly Burgess Nicotra, she heads up an exclusive travel company that offers customized excur sions to Italy that often combine gastronomy with art history.

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Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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