Lidia Bastianich, the Emmy award-winning public television host, best‐selling cookbook author and successful restaurateur is coming to the Lehigh Valley this June 2 to headline the Northampton Community College (NCC) Food & Wine Gala. The event is the college’s largest fundraising event and supports scholarships for those students who are most in need.
Bastianich helped share plans for this year’s Food & Wine Gala, joining the announcement at the college’s Hampton Winds student-run restaurant from her New York City area home live via web stream.
“I am so excited to be coming back to the Lehigh Valley,” said Bastianich, who has made many trips to the area over the years. “I’m looking forward to being part of this special event that helps provide scholarships to students in the region,” she said.
Home cooks and wannabe chefs world-wide have turned to Bastianich seeking her culinary counsel for decades. Her popularity has been fed through her television shows, cookbook titles, trendy restaurants and now her own line of Lidia’s Kitchen home cookware.
She has become a beloved Italian-American icon inspiring all who will listen with her trademark “Tutti a tavola a mangiare” or “Everyone to the table to eat.”
The Food & Wine Gala is an offshoot of the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival that had been the area’s most celebrated cuisine and beverage festival. During the pandemic, the festival was forced into hiatus, with special sponsor dinners being held the last two years. However, this year, the event has been re-imagined as the Northampton Community College Food & Wine Gala that will be held June 2 at the Wind Creek Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.
An extravagant four-course dinner will be a feature of the event, prepared under the direction of Bastianich, who is known worldwide for her authentic Italian cuisine. Gala guests will have the opportunity to meet Bastianich at a pre-dinner reception and later hear her account of how she left war torn Italy to come to America and eventually become one of the most endeared celebrity chefs in the world.
The gala will also include an auction featuring opportunities to bid on vintage collectable wines and amazing experiences, including dinner at one of Bastianich’s famous restaurants in New York City.
All proceeds from the gala directly provide for student scholarships. To date, the event has raised over $2 million for scholarships and academic programs. At the gala announcement, NCC President David A. Ruth, Ph.D., thanked the sponsors, donors, and community members for their continued support. “We are especially grateful for Lidia’s time and help. We are just so thrilled she will be bringing her culinary expertise and Italian flair to our gala event June 2.”
Mike Molewski, Food & Wine Committee Chair said, “When I had the idea to create a food and wine festival to benefit NCC, I never imagined the obstacles we would have to overcome. I am proud to say that we are still able to keep the event alive and continue to help NCC students.”
Fundraising events like the gala are near to Bastianich’s heart. She wants to help others achieve their full potential and open doors to opportunities like so many have done for her. From living under a communist regime, to coming to America and living her dream, she has gratitude for all that has helped her get to where she is today.
“The kindness and help my family and I received when we arrived in America was incredible. Strangers and non-profit organizations were willing to give us a home, fill our cupboards with food, and find my parents a job,” Bastianich said.
Sponsors for the NCC Food & Wine Gala include PBS39, which airs Lidia’s hit cooking show, Lidia’s Kitchen, locally. “We are pleased to be working with NCC on this partnership and are thrilled to once again work with Lidia. She is a staple in bringing her delicious meals to Lehigh Valley homes and is known and loved by our viewers,” said Tim Fallon, CEO of Lehigh Valley Public Media.
Click here to purchase tickets to the gala or learn about event sponsorship opportunities.