Premiered December 2015 on PBS.
Renowned Chef Lidia Bastianich invites six celebrity guests of different ethnic backgrounds to her holiday table: Christopher Walken, award winning actor and childhood friend; Rita Moreno, award winning actress; Ann Curry, television journalist; model and television host Padma Lakshmi; celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson; and Carlo Ponti, Jr., conductor. Home for the Holidays begins in the kitchen and ends at the dinner table in Lidia’s home in Queens, New York. Lidia shares her own culinary customs with the diverse and varied special dishes of her invited celebrity dinner companions.
Behind the Scenes: Home for the Holidays
Photos: Meredith Nierman/WGBH
By juxtaposing the past and present, Lidia tells the story of her journey to America, and what it means to her to be here now. Her stories are interwoven with new recipes adapted from the old world, and shared along with deeply personal memories of her guests, who share their journeys to and in America, and their lives through hardship and triumph. They are tales of prosperity and celebration, of diversity, tradition, and melding cultures The deliciously diverse meal they share represents the melting pot of flavors that are all part of celebrating Christmas in New York.
Bringing this story to life, Lidia handpicks a group of celebrity guests: actors, chefs, musicians and politicians, all united by their dream of making it in America. Viewers have privileged access to a celebration served up and prepared by Lidia and her guests, peppered with personal and moving stories celebrating America.
Interspersed throughout the one-hour documentary, filmmakers follow several of our guests back to their native countries, both literally and figuratively, capturing unique and touching moments and recollections to weave into the film. Exploring their roots and remembering their holiday traditions, our celebrities share their fondest childhood memories, remember what they coveted most, and recount their favorite foods and flavors from home. Many of these recollections are brought back to life through food.
Our cameras retrace the steps to locations where our guests once prepared their most delicious family meals, the most memorable of which they share with the others gathered together at Lidia’s table.
As seen through the eyes of six unique individuals, Home for the Holidays shows how food is the tie that binds us together in a dramatic, yet relatable, way. It underscores the reality that our native traditions are ultimately what distinguishes us and makes each and every one of our lives unique.