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The Daily Meal Council is an assembly of respected chefs, restaurateurs, writers, purveyors, food historians, and others who play key roles in the food world. They have agreed to share their opinions and their expertise with us from time to time, answering occasional queries, responding to surveys, advising us on matters of importance to us all.
Mario Batali was born in Seattle and brought up there and in Yakima. His father, Armando, worked for Boeing for 30 years, but upon retirement opened Salumi, where he makes and sells a wide range of Italian-style artisanal cured meats. Batali went to Rutgers University, majoring in Spanish, theatre, and economics. As a student, he took a job as a dishwasher in a New Brunswick, N.J., pizzeria, moving up to pizza maker. He went on to apprentice at Six Bells in London under Marco Pierre White, La Tour d'Argent in Paris, Moulin de Mougins in Paris, and the Waterside Inn in Bray-on-Thames before returning to the U.S., where he took over the kitchen at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara. He left that job to move to Italy and apprentice in the kitchen at Trattoria La Volta In the village of Borgo Capanne in Emilia-Romagna to learn traditional Italian cooking at the source. In 1993, living in New York, he opened his first restaurant, Po, in Greenwich Village, in partnership with Joe Bastianich. Today, he and Bastianich, sometimes with other partners, own about 25 restaurants, in New York (including the legendary Babbo and the four-star Del Posto), Las Vegas, California, Connecticut, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as two branches of the Eataly Italian market/food court chain in New York and Chicago (with more on the way). Batali is well-known to television viewers for his "Molto Mario," "Spain…on the Road Again," "The Chew," and other shows, as well as high-profile appearances on "Iron Chef America." His Mario Batali Foundation raises money for pediatric disease research, hunger relief, and literacy programs. He is also a vocal critic of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and especially of its deleterious effects on agriculture.
What's your earliest food memory?
Going to grandma Batali’s house on Sundays for supper. She cooked all day and made homemade calf’s brain ravioli with oxtail ragù. To this day it remains my favorite pasta. It was simply perfect.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a chef, and why? When I was going to college, I needed to make some extra cash. The neighborhood stromboli joint, Stuff Yer Face, was fun and lively and the waitresses were pretty cute. I started as a dishwasher and once I got into the kitchen I realized I loved the energy – I wanted to know more and do more. I was hooked immediately.
Who was your most important culinary influence?
Betta Valdiserri at La Volta in Emilia-Romagna, Marco Pierre White, and my Grandpa Leon and my Grandma Leonetta.
What are the most important lessons you learned from that culinary influence?
I knew how to cook before I went to Italy. But when I lived in Emilia, I learned things you can’t from a book or in a classroom. Things like how a pasta dough should feel when it's ready to be rolled out and how to improvise with what’s fresh in the garden. How not to follow a recipe. How to cook like nonna would. Most importantly, to trust simple dishes and solid technique. Go work for free, if you can. Go to a few different restaurants and see what you like and develop your skills and your resume.
You and your partner, Joe Bastianich, have more than 25 restaurants and market complexes in five states and on two continents. How do you, as a chef-restaurateur, maintain quality control over such a widespread and growing empire?
Joe and I never intended to grow so big, so fast. We had a great group of talent that had trained in our restaurants and were outgrowing their space in the kitchen. When you have talent, you need to find a way to keep them happy. So we decided to give great employees the chance to have a piece of the pie, to keep them invested and excited by asking them to take the helm of new restaurants. So far this has worked out well for us and we’ve also been able to grow and expand and bring our concepts to more people. The best part, though, is that I know that no matter where I am, I can trust that the restaurant and kitchen are under control. That peace of mind is worth a lot!
What advice would you give to a young would-be chef just starting out? Go work for free, if you can. Go to a few different restaurants and see what you like and develop your skills and your resume.
How would you judge the quality of restaurants in America today compared with 20 years ago, and what has changed most about them? I think American diners have come a million miles in sophistication. We are more well-traveled and much more well-versed in our own great regional cooking. Restaurants have responded by creating more varieties of experiences. Where we used to think Italian was a good choice, now we have real Neapolitan-style pizza, authentic tortellini and lasagne and bollito misto. It is good on both sides of the equation, better than it's ever been.
Is food retailing, as at Eataly, easier or more difficult than running restaurants, and why?
They’re both difficult on many levels. Eataly, by its sheer size and number of employees and number of restaurants, is a different animal entirely.
Do restaurateurs have social responsibility beyond simply feeding people honestly in their restaurants?
It comes down to values, really, and a demand for the quality we know our customers expect. Years ago we hired Elizabeth Meltz as sustainability and food safety director, to ensure that our restaurants meet our standards for greenness. Nowadays it feels like this is happening more and more, but when we took her on, it wasn’t about feeding a trend so much as it was about taking the next step in development to adjust to our changing world. By doing so, we’ve helped our planet and we’ve grown as a company as well.
What future project, real or imagined, excites you most?
A barn in the country with a giant spit roaster, a big antipasti table, and wine by the carafe only, that works on the weekends. This will be my retirement project.
Mario Batali's Ricotta Pudding Cake Is the Definition of La Dolce Vita
For many chefs, the Eternal City is an endless fountain of culinary inspiration, such is the case for Mario Batali, whose Greenwich Village restaurant Lupa is solely devoted to the city&aposs cuisine. "Rome is just special," he tells InStyle. "There are very few cities like it in the world." For our September issue, the superstar restaurateur shared a recipe for one his favorite desserts from the region: ricotta pudding cake.
The subtle sweetness of the ricotta pairs perfectly with the candied orange zest, which adds pleasing hints of citrus. Best of all, this rich and creamy taste is surprisingly light, so feel free to help yourself to a second slice. Top it off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and strawberries, and consider serving it alongside gold-brushed cutlery ($158/5-piece set michelevarian.com) for an extra touch of elegance. Read on for the full breakdown.
Ricotta Pudding Cake
Makes 8 servings
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
- 1 pint strawberries, quartered
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest and juice from ½ lemon, divided
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 lb fresh ricotta
- 1/4 cut granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp finely chopped candied orange peel ($7/lb nuts.com) or 2 tbsp orange zest tossed with
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp high-quality grappa or brandy
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large eggs, separated
1. Toss together strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside let macerate.
3. Grease and flour a 10-inch quiche pan.
4. Combine powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon set aside.
5. Stir together ricotta, granulated sugar, candied orange peel, grappa, flour, lemon zest, 2 eggs, 3 egg yolks, and remaining cinnamon in a large bowl.
6. Beat 3 egg whites with an electric mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whites into ricotta mixture. Transfer to quiche pan.
7. Bake cake until top is a bit golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn off oven let cake stand in oven 5 minutes.
8. Cut cake into slices sprinkle each with powdered sugar and macerated berries.
For more fall recipes, pick up the September issue ofInStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, Aug. 12.
Mario Batali Slammed for Including a Cinnamon Roll Recipe in Sexual Misconduct Apology
Mario Batali came under fire again on Friday when he apologized for his bad behavior amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct in a newsletter to fans that included a recipe for pizza dough cinnamon rolls.
𠇊s many of you know, this week there has been some news coverage about some of my past behavior,” Batali wrote on Friday. “I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.”
“Sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition and hospitality with all of you, each week, is an honor and privilege. Without the support of all of you — my fans — I would never have a forum in which to expound on this. I will work every day to regain your respect and trust,” he continued, signing the letter “mb.”
He then added a post script: “In case you’re searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite.” A photo of the dessert and a link to the recipe followed.
As can be imagined, Batali’s critics were outspoken on Twitter.
“Hi guys, it’s 2017 and Mario Batali just apologized for sexual harassment AND gave a recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls all in one email,” wrote journalist Jules Suzdaltsev.
“Well, sorry about the harassment, try this recipe for pizza dough cinnamon rolls! Is an interesting message,” added Buzzfeed news director Lisa Tozzi.
Batali has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
RELATED VIDEO: Mario Batali Was One of the Highest-Paid Chefs. Here’s What We Know About His Money
In a statement to Eater about the original accusations,Batali said, “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”
“I know my actions have disappointed many people,” he continued. “The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.”
The Chew announced Wednesday that Batali, who had co-hosting the talk show since 2011, would no longer be returning to the program.
“Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on The Chew,” said an ABC spokesperson in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly. “While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct.”
Introducing Truvani Protein+Greens: drink your greens daily!
And, I love green drinks. I drink a green juice or smoothie made with kale and other healthy vegetables nearly every single day…and have been for over a decade now.
When I first started this habit in my corporate days, it took some getting used to. Even thinking about it now. I’m getting a little… let’s say, choked up 🤢
Back then, I made it a point to drag my coworkers down to the local juice bar. I wanted everyone on board with this whole greens thing.
They’d watch as the shop attendant handed me a wheatgrass shot…and this deep sense of dread would shiver over my body.
Wheatgrass is very powerful stuff and its potency takes getting used to. I have to psych myself up every time I take a shot…but by the end of it all, I’m all smiles.
I knew drinking it would make me feel amazing. But the anticipation of that taste…
Made me gag a little. Okay, a lot.
“Bottom’s up!” I’d say to myself. Then with a plugged nose. I’d shoot it down. Trying to bypass my mouth so I didn’t taste the lawn clippings.
How can something so good for you… TASTE SOOOO BAD?!
Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans eat greens. I’m talking Broccoli. Kale. Spinach.
And if you do. You might not munch on these lush veggies daily.
So, if you struggle to get enough greens. Don’t feel bad. Because you’re not alone.
Eating dark, healthy greens every day is hard. (Not everyone loves them.)
And if you do love them, you have to:
- Get them in season (or they lose nutritional content and cost a fortune)
- Wash and prep them right away (so they stay fresh)
- Remember to eat them (before they turn to slime)
Easier said than done, right?
We know skipping our veggies is out of the question. They provide our bodies with important nutrients vital to overall health.
So, I asked my team, “How can we help people get their greens without all the extra hassle?”
We decided to look into greens powders. When we started researching some other brands… do you know what we saw on the labels?
You guessed it. Unnecessary fillers and additives. Like crystalized cellulose. And artificial sweeteners and stevia.
No way 🙅♀️ We KNEW we could do better.
It wasn’t easy. And it took us a long time from conception to finished product.
Introducing Truvani Protein+Greens, an organic greens supplement!
We created a greens powder that has three of my favorite dark greens:
And four amazing sprouts. Plus the satisfying plant-based vanilla protein Truvani fans love.
(with a hint of banana for a subtle sweetness).
Protein+Greens delivers 10g of plant-based protein with our favorite leafy greens and incredible sprouts. No cheap fillers. No unnecessary additives. Only the good stuff.
It tastes amazing and blends easily with water or into my favorite morning smoothie.
We figured out how to use the best green ingredients possible… and also TASTE the best.
Because we saw that some green drinks did things to mask the ‘green taste.’
Like using artificial sweeteners and “natural flavors.”
It took us a looooong time. But we figured it out.
One of the best things about our powder is the TASTE. It’s got a subtle hint of all the right sweetness. From vanilla bean, banana, and monk fruit (not artificial sweeteners or stevia).
You won’t find any overpowering grassy flavors like some other greens drinks. Which means it blends perfectly with your favorite liquid.
And you can add it to a delicious smoothie or healthy treat recipe. To make a nutritious dessert.
No matter how you make it. It tastes incredible.
So incredible…you won’t believe you’re drinking greens.
Don’t take my word for it. Watch the video testimonials here to see what the Truvani Team has to say about our new Protein+Greens and it’s amazing taste!
Try Truvani Protein+Greens for up to 25% off when you subscribe (this launch special expires soon!)
We all know the undeniable benefits of eating vegetables. And greens drinks help you get more veggies into your day—the easy way. Plus, greens support alkalinity, daily energy, and healthy digestion.
There are a few ways to enjoy green drinks daily…
You can try shots of wheatgrass. A green smoothie. A glass of green juice.
Or stock Truvani’s new Protein+Greens in your pantry. The easiest way of all!
Now you can whip up a green drink in no time and have a painless cleanup.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love juicing. But now I can get all the benefits of extra greens. Even when I’m short on time.
Why I Hate Food Bloggers By Mario Batali #01
Restaurateurs are slowly starting to go on the record with hatred for the food blogs (example), citing a slew of sneaky and unscrupulous, often self-serving, tendencies that make dealing with bloggers impossible. While we've never considered Eater a food blog per se -- we're a restaurant blog -- Mario Batali certainly has. And he's not happy with us or food blogs in general. Because Mario will always be a hero of ours, like us or not, we've asked Molto Mario to do his venting here. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the very latest in food blogger hating technology, Why I Hate Food Bloggers, By Mr. Mario Batali.
I do not really HATE anything or anybody, it takes too much energy to hate, and I would rather dog someone/thing sotto voce to the large audience than spend a lot of time hating them/it. But blogs live by different rules. Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact. Even a savvy blog like the one you are reading now has strangely superseded truly responsible journalism. It is much more immediate and can skip a lot of the ponderous setup necessary in a news article. It cuts right to the heart of a matter, often disputing it as though real research has taken place.
Take the following quote from yesterday's summation of the battle between landlord and tenant, our restaurant Del Posto, at 85 10th avenue. I quote:
Even a cursory examination of the facts would have landed anyone -- such as all of the courts who ruled in our favor -- with the conclusion that it was nothing more than a classic shakedown. The Somerset Partners, after spending more than $1.3 million of their principals' cash unanswered and unsupported by even a morsel of gain, backed way down and off of the field to lick their wounds in their $40 million townhouses. What you did not read yesterday is that they sold the building 14 months later for something like a hundred million smackers in profit. So the reader has no option to assemble a version of the story that includes the Somerset partners' gain. Nobody is served in the end.
My broader point is that the casual and serious reader alike cannot possibly hold the anonymous blogosphere accountable. I think, in fact, many of the readers know this and enjoy the fun. But the blog is now a new partner, and this bit of shoddy journalism will be picked up and promulgated by the rest of the gray zone and march its merry way toward the center of the road. Eventually these blog posts become factual information lost in the sauce.
But, in the end, I do not hate the blogger. I just expect, and want, more from many of them.
Mushrooms are one of my all-time favorite foods. Not only do they add a delicious umami-rich flavor to dishes, but they’re full of good nutrition. A small handful of just four UV-exposed crimini mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, which is important when over 40% of the U.S. population is deficient. My favorite way to enjoy mushrooms is to chop them up and toss them with my favorite pasta sauce.Emily Weeks, RDN, LD Culinary Dietitian, Food Photographer, Cookbook Author, Creator of Zen & Spice
“Regardless of how their audiences respond, the chefs’ choices themselves send a message regarding what practices are acceptable when it comes to food and animals,” Lamey and Sharpless write.
The researchers averaged the number of animals dispatched per recipe, and categorized the cookbooks into four levels: level one required zero animals level two up to 0.5 level three up to one and level four, upwards of one animal per dish.
Batali’s Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking was the worst offender, with 5.25 average deaths per recipe and 620 total animal deaths. Lee’s Susur: A Culinary Life took the dubious honour of second place with an average of 2.85 kills and a total of 268. Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food: Recipes from the F Word rounded out the category with an average of 1.23 deaths per recipe (127 total).
You're Going to Love Mario Batali's New Twist on Classic Chicken Cacciatore
Seeing as chef Mario Batali is well-versed in Rome&aposs culinary vocabulary (his N.Y.C. restaurant Lupa specializes in the city&aposs cuisine), it comes as no surprise that his dish of choice is a bit tricky to pronounce. While it doesn&apost roll off the tongue quite as easily as pizza or pasta (though Batali does enjoy a good cacio e pepe), his favorite Roman dish is a slightly lesser known𠅋ut equally delicious—Italian classic: chicken cacciatore.
For the uninitiated, cacciatore (pronounced catch-chee-ah-tor-ay) refers to a "hunter-style" method of cooking in which the meat, vegetables (onions, mushrooms, and celery, in this case), and herbs slowly simmer in a single pot (the Michele Varian one pictured above is the perfect size, $162 michelevarian.com). Batali&aposs recipe stays true to the Northern Italian tradition of using white wine, but adds marinara sauce, because, well, why not? Read on for the full breakdown. Buon appetito!
Makes 4 servings
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
1 3-lb whole chicken
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (from about 2 sprigs)
1/2 cup plus 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb portobello mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz pancetta, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Using a sharp knife or poultry shears, separate chicken into 8 pieces: 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks. Pat chicken pieces dry.
2. In a small bowl, combine garlic, salt, black pepper, rosemary, and 3 tbsp of the oil stir to make a paste (add 1 more tbsp of oil if the mixture is too dry) rub evenly over chicken pieces. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
3. Heat remaining oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Working in batches, cook chicken pieces in a single layer, turning to brown all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate lined with paper towels.
4. Add mushrooms, pancetta, celery, and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and pancetta is rendered, about 8 minutes. Drain oil from the pot.
5. Add marinara sauce and wine stir to loosen browned bits from the bottom of pot. Add stock, sugar, and crushed red pepper bring to a boil. Return chicken pieces to pot, reduce heat to medium heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Then uncover pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook 15-20 minutes more. Sprinkle and parsley and serve.
For more fall Roman holiday-like recipes, pick up the September issue ofInStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, August 12.
Japanese people distinguish traditional Japanese-style dishes as "wa-shoku" (wa means Japanese-style, and shoku indicates food) as opposed to Western food, which is generally called "yo-shoku." Chinese dishes are called "chuuka," and chuuka dishes cooked in Japan are arranged in Japanese-style. It's similar to authentic Chinese dishes but has its differences.
Japan is a small country, but each region or even a city has its own specials. Mainly, there are Kanto region (eastern area of the main island) food and Kansai region (western area of the main island) food. Generally, Kanto food has strong flavors, and Kansai food is lightly seasoned. Many dishes are cooked differently between the Kansai and Kanto regions.
This Mario Batali Spaghetti Dish Is Helping To Fight Against AIDS
If you've tinkered with the idea of signing up for a food subscription service but have not yet jumped on the band wagon, now is as good as time as any to enlist in one. This June, HelloFresh, which prides itself in providing locally sourced ingredients to create wholesome meals, is partnering with the Bono-founded (RED) organization and their EAT (RED) SAVE LIVES campaign by offering four limited edition recipes from celebrity chefs Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Carla Hall and Rachael Ray. For any new customer who signs up during June with the code HelloRED, $20 from each order made during the month will go straight to The Global Fund. Existing customers can also participate by making a straight donation through HelloFresh’s website. Furthermore, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching every dollar raised, up to $75,000.
Now if you’re wondering what savvy dishes these celebrated chefs have come up with, here is what customers can look forward to if they sign up.
Mario Batali's Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Chorizo, and Basil, available June 3rd to 9th.
Emeril Lagasse's Herby Dijon Chicken Breasts with Zucchini and Red Potatoes, available June 10th to 16th.
Rachael Ray's Grilled Buffalo Chicken with Carrot-Celery Slaw and Mashed Taters, available June 17th to 23rd
Carla Hall's Summery Lemon Chicken with Tarragon Chimichurri, available June 24th to 30th.