Guardian critic Jay Rayners profile of Mario Batali is on the one hand adoring, and on the other hand surprisingly frank about Del Posto: It holds its two stars more for the glossy, dark wood, country-club-meets-ocean-liner surroundings than for the workmanlike food. But the juiciest part comes when Mario Superstars Like Me Batali, whom Rayner considers a sort of American Gordon Ramsay, comes forward about his feud with El Gordo.
"Now he goes about town calling me Fanta Pants." What? Because you sometimes wear orange shorts? "I suppose. And it has to be as a direct result of what you wrote." Batali has not been slow in responding. 'I've banned him from my restaurants. Ramsay's people call trying to book tables and I say no. I won't have him in there. If he called me himself and said, 'Let's sit down for a drink,' I'm sure it would be fine. We'd be cool. But right now it's not cool." More wine is poured. Another cigarette is smoked. It's clear he enjoys the feud. He also insists on telling me that the feud does not extend to Ramsay's chef colleagues. He wants me to know he likes Angela Hartnett very much, though that doesn't really do justice to the completely filthy way he expresses his admiration. It's clear Angela is not banned from his restaurants.
Another choice nugget comes after Rayner assures us that although Mario is a man of vast appetites (see above about Angela Hartnett), hes loyal to his wife: Back at the table I look at him through the haze. I say, What haven't I asked you? He thinks. You haven't asked me if I fucked Gwyneth. I agree. I haven't asked him that, and thank him for interviewing himself. No. I did not fuck Gwyneth. In case you were wondering!
Gwyneth and the Big Beast of American Cooking [Guardian via Feedbag]