For chef Lidia Bastianich of Lidia’s Kitchen and Lidia Celebrates America, cooking is an act of love.

“Food for me is a messenger,” Bastianich told GBH’s Morning Edition co-host Paris Alston. “It's also healing. It's curing. It's 'I love you, hope you feel better.'”

Next month, she'll be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 51st Daytime Emmys in Los Angeles.

“It tells you that you've been at it and you've been good at whatever you've been doing for a while,” she said. “I'm up there on the stage with great actors and personalities, and it's a great pride and joy for me.”

GBH's own Julia Child ushered Bastianich into the world of cooking on television when she invited her to appear on an episode of Cooking with Master Chefs in 1993.

“It was my time to share my knowledge, but also to share the pleasure, the delights, the meaningfulness of sitting around the table all together, be it with your family, be it with your friends,” Bastianich said. “You know, what food can really sort of bring, literally, to the table.”

The food television landscape has “mushroomed” since then, Bastianich said, growing to encompass informational cooking shows, competitions and various reality shows.

“I think that what the interesting thing about food is has how it has evolved,” she said. “It's so important for the American people out there because it brings them back. … Big industry was doing all the food. Fast food, you just gathered and grabbed and you ate. Now people are back in the kitchen, and I think that the COVID situation also has brought people back into the nest of the kitchen and the home, and the television shows really encourage it.”

Social media, too, can be a platform for people to share their food experiences, she said.

“I think, again, that connects on a very true people level to other people,” Bastianich said. “And food is — it's a message of love, of nourishment, of nurturing, of caring. So when we're talking about food, as long as we are not abusing it, it is positive.”

Bastianich is marking 25 years on public television. In that time, she has been adamant about filming in her own kitchen.

“Sometimes it gets over-jammed and whatever,” she said. “Lidia is not a solitary journey. It's a compilation of all of these people, whether it's my production team, whether it's my chef's team in the restaurant, with my family. So I need those people, and I feel good around them, and then I can't wait to get rid of them.”

In addition to passing down recipes, she has also talked about how food can bring us together in difficult times.

“At the table, when you sit down, you open it up, you care for the people that are there with you,” she said. “You want them to live well, you want them to continue. And there's a peacefulness that comes through it.”

That togetherness has been more prevalent lately with food costs climbing over the last five years.

“Every meal doesn't have to be a 16 ounce steak, you know? Knowing how to handle dry goods — you buy a pound of dry beans and you make a soup to feed 12 people with the basics, some vegetables or whatever,” she said. “And if you go back to traditional culture cooking, be Italian, be it French, be it Korean, whatever it is, those traditional dishes are really reflecting the economy as well, because, you know, those are dishes that were not invented or made or formatted when there was abundance.”

So what does she cook at home for her family?

“Around the table, usually we do have an antipasto or a soup or a little pasta, or pasta sometimes is the main course,” she said. “Lots of vegetables. The Italian cuisine is based on a lot of vegetables, legumes. It all depends on the season and of course, which of the grandkids is coming and what do they love?”