Home » The 2024 WYWL Grant Awards Luncheon with Lidia Bastianich, Westport, CT, USA

The 2024 WYWL Grant Awards Luncheon with Lidia Bastianich, Westport, CT, USA

Westport Young Women's Leaque (WYWL)

by Debra Argen
Lidia Bastianich - The WYWL Grants Award Luncheon
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The Westport Young Women’s League (WYWL) Grant Awards Luncheon 2024 with guest speaker Lidia Bastianich was a perfect combination of “a curated culinary experience” and community grant awards. Sponsored by Cuisinart, guests had the opportunity to not only learn about the charitable works of the WYWL but also to meet Lidia Bastianich, one of the best loved and renowned chefs in America with her effervescent personality as an Emmy award-winning public television host for the past 25 years, for her dynamic in-person appearances, for her delectable recipes, for her fabulous restaurants (Lidia’s Kansas City, MO and Becco, New York City, NY), and for her numerous best-selling cookbooks and delicious products.

Since 1956, the WYWL, a 501©3 nonprofit, has made its mark on the greater Westport, Connecticut community donating over $4.4 million through its community grants program. For their 2024 Grant Awards Luncheon, held on April 29, 2024, at Branson Hal, Christ & Holy Trinity Church, and graciously sponsored by Cuisinart, they invited Lidia Bastianich to be their esteemed guest speaker.

Chef Lidia Bastianich - photo by Luxury Experience

Chef Lidia Bastianich

Prior to the luncheon, there was a private VIP reception where guests had the opportunity to meet Lidia Bastianich, have her sign her new cookbook, Lidia’s From My Table to Yours by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, pose for photos with Lidia, and sample delicious passed hors oeuvres and cocktails.

Julianne Bochinski - WYWL Grants Director - photo by Luxury Experience

Julianne Bochinski, WYWL Grants Director

The luncheon opened with a welcome from Julianne Bochinski, WYWL Grants Director, Master of Ceremonies & Conair LLC Chief Trademark Counsel, followed by a talk by Lidia Bastianich. Born in Pola, Yugoslav-occupied Italy, she moved to the United States in 1958. When she reached eighteen years old, she became an American citizen. She is the epitome of the American dream, opening her first restaurant in 1971. She has spent over 50 years as a chef, has hosted PBS television programs for the past 25 years, has won multiple Emmy awards, is a 7-time James Beard award recipient, restauranteur, and the author of numerous cookbooks. As a chef, and as a speaker, she is someone who connects with her audience.

Chef Lidia Bastianich - photo by Luxury Experience

Chef Lidia Bastianich

Lidia noted in the program, “It is my pleasure to join The Westport Young Women’s League for their Grants Lunch gala. I recall being a young immigrant to the United States and how our caring neighbors and local organizations gave my family support and advice while starting our new life. I know firsthand the impact of such generosity and the power of community in cultivating a successful future. It is my pleasure to be part of such a wonderful cause.”

Bridget Flynn, WYWL President - photo by Luxury Experience

Bridget Flynn, WYWL President

Other esteemed speakers included The Honorable Jennifer Tooker, First Selectwoman, Westport, The Honorable Susan Bysiewicz, Lieutenant Governor, Elaine Daignault, Director of Human Services, Westport, and Bridget Flynn, WYWL President. As the final icing on the grant awards luncheon, there was a Cuisinart Raffle Drawing presented by Cuisinart Sponsor, Shawn Killeen, Sr. Vice President, General Manager Electrics.

Shawn Killeen, Lidia Bastianich, Julianne Bochinski, Christine Kapp - photo by Luxury Experience

Shawn Killeen, Lidia Bastianich, Julianne Bochinski, Christine Kapp

The Grant Awards Luncheon Menu was a curated culinary and wine experience pairing Lidia’s recipes and her wines, expertly prepared by Marcia Seldon Catering.

The Menu

First Course
Hand Rolled Parmesan Breadsticks
Insalata Cotta e Cruda

Second Course
Breast of Chicken in a Light Lemon Herb Sauce, Risotto Cake & Sauteed Spinach
For the luncheon it was prepared with Gluten Free breadcrumbs & no dairy used. Vegan/Vegetarian option is substituted with cauliflower.

Wine Pairings
Red – Bastianich Schioppettino
Vini Orsone, Tre Venezie 2021, 13% alcohol

White – Bastianich Friulano
Vini Orsone, Friuli Colli Orientali DOCi 2019, 14.5% alcohol

Dessert & Coffee

The 2024 WYWL Grant Award Recipients

A Better Chance Westport
Westport, Connecticut

The Caroline House
Bridgeport, Connecticut

Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer, Inc.
Wilton, Connecticut

Clasp Homes, Inc.
Westport, Connecticut

McGivney Community Center
Bridgeport, Connecticut

Circle of Friends of Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut

Westport, Connecticut

The Levitt Pavilion
Westport, Connecticut

Westport Farmer’s Market
Westport, Connecticut

About the WYWL

“Since 1956, the Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL), has done a lot for its community and its members. Membership is open to all women who are over the age of 21 regardless of where you live. WYWL offers many opportunities for its members to be involved. Members organize and run our major fundraisers, the Minute Man Race and CraftWestport. Members volunteer in the community by doing things like cooking for the Community Kitchen and also enjoy socials like wine tastings and book groups. WYWL also gives grants to charities based in lower Fairfield County and all members are encouraged to participate in that process. Since WYWL’s inception, we have donated over $4.2 million to local charities with over half that amount donated in the past decade alone.” 

WYWL 2024 Grants Awards - photo by Luxury Experience

For more information about the WYWL, please visit their website: www.wywl.com 

About Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich is an Emmy award-winning public television host and bestselling cookbook author, and restaurateur. She is also a 7-time recipient of the prestigious James Beard awards.

Debra C Argen and Chef Lidia Bastianich - photo by Luxury Experience

Debra C Argen and Chef Lidia Bastianich

Her latest cookbook, Lidia’s From My Table to Yours by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali was published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2023. ISBN: 978-0-525-66742-2. $35.00 USD.

To learn more about Lidia Bastianich, please visit her website: https://lidiasitaly.com/ or social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube: @lidiabastianich. 

Lidia’s Recipes from the luncheon:


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