BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Just in time for the New York City Wine and Food Festival, Joe Bastianich, restaurateur, vineyard owner and author, partnered with Progresso as they expand their line of soups with the introduction of Artisan Soups.
Bastianich said he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his family while growing up in Queens.
“We grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, first Astoria and then Bayside,” Bastianich said.
“We had a garden in the back, where we grew tomatoes and made wine in the garage,” he said. “We had a little slice of Italy in Queens.”
He is the son of restaurateurs Felice and Lidia Bastianich. His mother is a self-made cook, turned culinary celebrity.
“Food has been the guiding light in my life,” Bastianich said.
Bastianich and partner Mario Batali own eateries in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore. They most recently opened Eataly in 2010 in the City, which consists of seven restaurants into one.
Along with many tasteful eateries, he has established three wineries.
“On the Italian table, wine and food together are a part of the complete meal,” Bastianich said. “It is part of the culture.”
Since embarking with Progresso’s Artisan soup line that consists of vegetable bisque and hearty soup varieties, Bastianich said the partnership ties very well into his upbringing in an Italian-American family.
“Progresso has been around the house and in my life for as long as I can remember,” Bastianich said.
He said it reminds him of an Italian grandma using Progresso beans to make her pasta fagioli or minestrone.
“There is a lot of trust around that brand,” Bastianich said. “The Italian immigrant story is the Progresso story.”
Bastianich said his kids like the Creamy Tomato Soup with the roasted red peppers and he likes the Masala Curry Butternut Squash with roasted butternut squash enhanced with warm curry spices, coconut milk and a small kick of cayenne.
Bastianich said he recognizes the growth in the number of restaurants opening in Astoria and Long Island City.
“When I was growing up, those were abandoned neighborhoods. The young population is fueling the demand for all the restaurants,” Bastianich said. “It shouldn’t all be in Brooklyn and I have always wondered why not Queens and finally its happening in Queens too. I think it’s about time.”
“And everyone knows Queens has the best bagels in the world,” he added.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.