Lidia Celebrates America: Life's Milestones

(Rochester, NY)—Renowned chef and culinary author Lidia Bastianich continues her engaging cross-country journey of the United States to experience the exuberance of American culture through food in a new episode of her primetime PBS series — Lidia Celebrates America — this time sharing with four families special rites of passage marking some of the most meaningful moments in life’s journey, including a Greek Orthodox baptism for triplets, a French-Cajun Sweet 16 birthday party and country music debut in Nashville, a Brazilian-American culinary student’s college graduation, and a Navajo house blessing ceremony. The series kicks off Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 12 p.m. on WXXI-TV with “Life’s Milestones.”

In her travels, Lidia is joined by notable guests, including Fox Business News reporter Nicole Petallides, who takes Lidia to Astoria, Queens, for a traditional Greek meal at Taverna Kyclades; chef/restaurateur Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of the acclaimed Prune in New York’s East Village and best-selling author of Blood, Bones & Butter; award-winning songwriter/producer Victoria Shaw, who walks Lidia through the heart of Nashville’s Music Row; and chef Freddie Bitsoie and Grammy-winning singer Radmilla Cody, both Navajo, who show Lidia the majestic grandeur of the Navajo Nation’s Four Corners region.

This fourth edition of Lidia Celebrates America, the documentary primetime series, showcases the diverse customs, foods and traditions celebrated by families and communities, which invite Lidia and viewers to participate in these “festive landmarks of life,” as Lidia calls the notches we cut in our belt to mark our growth.

“I have been welcomed by all of these communities, which take great pride in their cultures. This is where the joy truly is, and that is America to me,” says Lidia. “America is a big, fat, dinner table of a land where everyone is allowed to bring his or her own special dish and then partakes with grace and interest, and even love, the plates of the others — which is what this special series hopes to convey.”

Lidia Celebrates America is a lively exploration of the rich diversity of cultures across the United States, and the vibrant ethnic and religious customs and traditions observed by various groups — in which food is a common denominator that connects all human beings. Previous series focused on the different ways Americans celebrate weddings, holiday traditions and independence. For more program information, visit To view recipes featured in the series, go to PBS Food: CELEBRATES AMERICA series DVDs, Best of Lidia: Pastas DVD, Lidia’s Italy in America cookbook and more are available at Every purchase supports PBS.

Credit: Courtesy of Aaron Rapoport



WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.


WXXI Media Contact:

Kristin Tutino

Creative Services Department

[email protected]


Go to the NPR Pressroom

Go to the PBS Pressroom

Get logos for Media Use

Read our Media Policy

Radio Archives

TV Archives