The Return of the Artisans - PBS Food

The Return of the Artisans

Premiered December, 2019 on PBS.

“In The Return of the Artisans, we take viewers on an intimate journey to see traditions that have been kept alive for hundreds of years, skills passed down from generations with pride, passion and love—now being passed on to new apprentices.” ~ Lidia Bastianich

Watch as Ironbound Head Chef, Gunnar Bentley, shows Lidia how he cooks on the ‘mother fire’.

With a renewed focus on vocational training and working apprentices, artisans and the trades are making a comeback here in the United States. The Return of the Artisans looks at how this new generation of craftspeople is training today. From vocational high schools to apprenticeships to incubator programs, Lidia observes firsthand how young people are looking to artisanal crafts and small business as a fulfilling way to earn their livelihoods, and how many young craftsmen are bringing their skills back to their own communities.

The Stories


“The beauty of these apprenticeships is not just the quality goods from using time-honored, hand-crafted methods, but the viable employment opportunities and a sense of community and belonging for the craftspeople who master the skills.” ~ Lidia Bastianich


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From the guests to the food, and the beautiful decorations, see photos and go behind the scenes of Lidia’s Artisanal adventures.


The Return of the Artisans culminates with Lidia hosting a special celebration meal to give back to the artisans who’ve generously opened their lives to her. The dinner is held at Ironbound Farm in New Jersey, home of Ironbound Hard Cider, which creates meaningful, skilled jobs for the chronically underemployed by training them to be farmers and educators, and which works to cultivate an interconnected community of local food artisans at the farm.

Lidia’s menu includes some of her own dishes and highlights the artisanal products and dishes inspired by her travels and experiences across the country—including foraged mushrooms, green beans with mint pesto, polenta, roasted beet salad, short ribs and country ham, and fruit tart made from preserves.


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