Much was afoot last night here in South Beach, between the evening’s somewhat staid main event, a tribute dinner to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, big after-parties at the chefs-only 212 Access House and Versace Mansion, and a Mario Batali dinner at Danny DeVito’s eponymous South Beach restaurant. There, at close quarters in the kitchen, Batali worked the pasta station; Del Posto and Babbo chefs Mark Ladner and Frank Langello on sauté; Adam Perry Lang cooked immense “103” rib steaks with vast, protruding bones; and Jamie Oliver helped out as needed.
Over the course of the evening, the kitchen was visited by Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Esca’s David Pasternack, and Ming Tsai, among others. Iron Chef Cat Cora confronted Bourdain about the Golden Clog for “most fame based on least actual culinary achievement” named in her honor. Bourdain tried to dance away from her allegations, and Batali looked amused overall. Given how Bourdain has ripped into Rachael Ray over the years, you’d think that she would have been sharpening her knives, but the two chatted amiably — to Bourdain’s visible relief.