Above: Joe Bastianich is an even bigger celebrity in Italy than in the U.S.
One of the first things that Lidia Bastianich told me when she cooked lunch for me and a group of wine bloggers at the family’s farmhouse in Friuli was how her son Joe has eclipsed her fame in Italy.
“We were in Piazza San Marco [in Venice] and a group of teenagers came up to us and wanted Joe’s autograph — not mine,” she said.
As a star of one of Italy’s most popular TV shows (“Master Chef”), Joe has achieved a level of celebrity in Italy that few in the U.S. are aware of.
His name was hurled across the Italophone enogastronomic blogosphere this week when, in a video interview posted online by the national daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, he called Italian diners “idiotic,” using the Italian term deficiente.