In Lidia Bastianich
's latest starring role, the queen of Italian restaurants, cookbooks
and television programming plays herself in a short documentary
, released this week, as part of Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project
. The insurance company is producing an ongoing series of documentaries featuring artists who, according to the website, strive to make us "think about -- and discuss -- what it means to do the right thing." As self-serving as that may sound (flashback to your little white lie about that prom night fender-bender), the film's storyline is not buried beneath product pitches. It's actually rather moving. In our interview, Bastianich talks about what she views as her public responsibility, the state of food television today, and why we should stop letting corporations drown us in sugary cereal.
What drew you to the Responsibility Project?
: I need to be given a forum where I can feel responsible and committed to my viewers, give them the quality they want. That's why I have stayed with PBS so long, done my cooking shows there rather than elsewhere. This documentary also gave me that opportunity. They really put together such a top team for this film, like the cinematographer, who also did "The Wrestler"
. So you know it's going to be a magnificent piece.