Batali turns the cameras on me (@TerrySimpson) – he is just too fun not to hang out with


When I asked Mario Batali what his favorite food myth was, he didn’t hesitate:

“Many people think food has to be complicated to be good. It doesn’t.”

He went on to say that food should be in smaller portions, and include several vegetables and “You will live a good, long life.”

Mario Batali’s enthusiasm for life is infectious- it is hard to be around him without smiling, without cracking a joke, and without thinking about what is the next food he is going to create. You also cannot help but look at him and realize he is planning his next practical joke.

Batali and April

Showing their better side, April Simpson (@producergirl) and Batali not hesitating to have a little fun!

How does he create such great food at so many restaurants, and maintain the quality? The answer is everyone has his mark, every cook is trained in his style, and nothing goes out of the kitchen that isn’t fresh and delicious.

Batali grew up in Washington, a great portion of it in Seattle, and spent time in Europe working on some great chefs before returning to the United States where he worked in Four Season’s kitchens, becoming the youngest executive chef at Four Seasons Santa Barbara.  He then chose to make a pilgrimage back to the  northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne and became an apprentice in the kitchen of La Volta. There, he mastered the traditional style of Italian cooking inspired by his family.  Batali returned to the States and opened his first restaurant, P0, with his friend Steven Crane.

In 1998 then partnered with Joe Bastianich and opened Babbo, which won “best new restaurant” in 1998 from the James Beard foundation, and that year given three stars by NY Times food writer Ruth Reichl.  The acclaimed Babbo is the restaurant that Bill Clinton loves to go to, and where he, according to Bastianich, Clinton always has a table. The partnership with Bastianich produced a series of successful restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, California, Connecticut, and Asia.

Batali’s personality is a natural for television, and he is currently one of the hosts of Chew on NBC. Previously he was on the Food Network including as an Iron Chef.

We had the opportunity to talk to Mario at Carnevale, a summer event at the Venetian-Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas. Batali is its grand master. Las Vegas is home to several of his restaurants, Carnevino, B and B, Otto, and soon a new burger restaurant that will be open by October.

Mario Batali Burger

Having fun- and enjoying one of his burgers

At Carnevale in addition to the delicious snacks made by Baltali’s restaurant group, they featured his new burgers.  As a huge fan of burgers, I enjoy tasting these new ‘Batali’ burgers – they were made perfectly- and went along well with his sumptuous Nutella milk shake.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of dining at his restaurants knows that his food is simple, savory and delicious. His partner, Joe Bastianich, one of the judges on FOX’s Master Chef – makes certain that the wines are a great value, and has added his own wine collection to their restaurants.

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