Magazine article Newsweek

Newsmakers

Magazine article Newsweek

Newsmakers

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicki GOstin, Jeff Giles

Mario Batali

Chef Mario Batali, with six New York restaurants, a permanent gig on the Food Network and a new cookbook, "Molto Italiano," his fourth, somehow managed a word with NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin.

So, I'm not dissing you, but--

I can take it.

Why another Italian cookbook?

The reason people will buy my cookbook is because they trust me more than someone they don't know. When they see my show they develop a confidence in me. I'm perceived as the go-to guy for information about authentic Italian food.

What is your philosophy of food?

Italians evaluate everything for how it looks and tastes. So when you think you're getting a plate of prosciutto and it comes with a little drizzle of black pepper oil and a grilled piece of bread with garlic rubbed on top and tiny dots of fruit mostarda , it takes it to another level. It's more appealing, more memorable.

Do you distrust skinny chefs?

No. [Pause ] Somewhat. A chef has to have a passion for the libidinal pleasure of eating.

"The Sopranos" has highlighted Italian food.

Officially we're supposed to be insulted, but it's brilliant.

Why haven't you been on?

I was on, babe. Twice. When Carmella had Sunday dinner she put down a dish and said, "These are Mario Batali's green beans and parmesan." And when she fell in love with Furio she's watching TV and my show comes on. They zoom in on my ponytail because Furio has a ponytail. …

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