Batali Clears the Air About Food Bloggers, ‘Iron Chef’

Mario Batali stopped into Leonard Lopate’s studios today, and after saying much about grilling (he’s promoting his new cookbook, Italian Grill) and offering the all-time best euphemism for drinking while cooking (“watering the infield”), he recanted a bit on his previous excoriation of food bloggers.

In retrospect the title ["Why I Hate Food Bloggers"] was a mistake. I don’t hate food bloggers or any of the media involved in the world of food.… Blogs rely on a certain amount of anonymity for their survival, and being provocative and outlandish. I equate a lot of it to writing on a bathroom wall.… As soon as you write on it, you’re in it, and someone else can come up with [a response to] you. There’s a lot of vituperative bubbling beneath the [writing of] someone who’s mad about what’s going on in food. In the end, I love food bloggers, I realized. I don’t appreciate the people who use their anonymity to hide their absolute anger at something or someone.

Lopate, who’s quite the foodie himself, also asked Batali how much advance notice he gets about the secret ingredient on Iron Chef, presumably responding to Sietsema’s allegations that the chefs seem too well prepared.

They do the reveal right then and there.… Then there’s about eight minutes [before] we actually start to cook. We’re allowed to put in $200 worth of pantry ingredients.… We go in with a strategy of what we’re going to do.… We’re thinking we’re going to make a soup, a pasta — no matter what they give us, we make it work. If you watch carefully, [Mark] Ladner always does the butchering, Anne [Burrell] does the vegetables and pasta, and I do the sauces.

Mario also plugged a contest occurring at his site — the person who submits the best grilling video gets to tailgate with him at the Texas Motor Speedway. “If you’ve never been to a NASCAR race,” he said, “the way to go is with me.” Somehow, we believe that.