Posts tagged ‘Mario Batali’




New York City – The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that after 17 years in production their popular Food Network will cease programming at the end of this month. The move took many in assembly by surprise. The press conference was held at Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue, home of the Food Network Studios.

Milton Funderburk, Acting Assistant Vice-Chairman of Cable Programming for Scripps was asked why the media conglomerate was closing the doors on its most popular cable franchise, “The time is right. After all when we purchased TFN back in ‘97 we thought it would fail miserably. That was the plan.

“We acquired the Network as a tax right off. We never dreamed anyone would actually watch it. Our thought was why would anyone want to watch someone else cooking on TV? I mean if they wanted to see someone cook, they could just go cook something. Apparently we under estimated the American public’s desire to live vicariously.”



April 1, 2010 at 3:05 am

Cristeta Comerford: White House Executive Chef

The White House Executive Chef is in charge of all menus for the First Family as well as all official state functions.  Though the White House Executive Chef serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States, typically they work side-by-side with the first lady.

Walter Scheib III served at the post beginning in 1994 under President Bill Clinton.  President George W. Bush saw no reason to replace Chef Scheib and retained him until 2005 when he left to enjoy life as a celebrity chef.  He has since battled Iron Chef Cat Cora and published a book White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen.

To fill the void left by Chef Scheib’s departure, Laura Bush tabbed his talented assistant Cristeta Comerford to be the new White House Executive Chef making her the first woman and first minority to hold the title.  Mrs. Bush had reportedly been very impressed with Comerford’s handling of large State events.

Chef Comerford’s voyage into history began in the Philippines where she lived her first 23 years on earth.  Just prior to immigrating to the US, Comerford attended the University of the Philippines majoring in food technology.

Upon reaching the States, Comerford took a job in Chicago cooking for Sheraton Hotel and Resorts.  Since then she has worked in Washington DC, Vienna and for Hyatt Regency.  Her rise has been meteoric and deftly earned.

Apparently, new first lady Michelle Obama was also impressed as she retained Chef Comerford saying, “Cristeta Comerford brings such incredible talent to the White House operation and came very highly regarded from the Bush family,” in a statement released by the transition team.  Mrs. Obama is quite the foodie who has even started a White House Kitchen Garden.

On Sunday January 3rd. Chef Comerford joins Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Kitchen Stadium to battle the team of Iron Chef Mario Batali and culinary legend Emeril Legasse in the first Iron Chef: America of the new year.  Comerford’s boss, Michelle Obama will be in attendance.

December 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm 3 comments

My Summer Reading List: Heat

Originally posted at Paper Palate on July 08, 2009.

Last time on My Summer Reading List, I reviewed Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Cheflebrity Anthony Bourdain. Beyond all of the hype Kitchen Confidential is simply a book about a chef who becomes a writer. This time around I am reviewing Heat by Bill Buford. All awards and accolades aside Heat is simply a book about a writer who becomes a chef.

Oh those midlifes. In my first 40 years on earth I’ve been a musician, a dot com guy, a writer and a chef.  I wonder what 50 holds for me?

I could sit here all day trying to wax poetic about the transformation Buford made from literati to culinarian. but I don’t have to. I’ll just steal Buford’s words, “In the beginning, there was a writer, the ghost was the chef. In the end, there was the chef, the ghost was the writer.” Heat reads like two different books. The first is one of those culinary adventures that are so en vogue and the other a biography of Mario Batali.

The idea for Heat began when Buford threw a dinner party back in 2002. Batali was a guest at that party but by the time it ended the then-editor at the New Yorker had decided that someone needed to do a profile of the Iron Chef. Unfortunately Buford got no takers so he resolved to do the story himself. A fateful decision to say the least.

Buford elected to take six months to work in the kitchens of Babbo, Batali’s three star Italian restaurant located in New York’s Greenwich Village. When the story was done, Buford wasn’t. He resigned his post at the magazine to continue work his way up the ladder at Babbo. Before long he was on a plane to Italy to learn the old ways. His journey would find him hanging with Marco Pierre White in London, hand rolling pasta in Tuscany and butchering a pig in his New York apartment.

Heat is very well written as one would imagine from a writer of Buford’s experience and does a wonderful job of showing his journey from white collar to chef whites. Those thinking of making the career change to the culinary arts would be well served to read this book before turning in that letter of resignation.

Next: The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffery Steingarten.

July 9, 2009 at 6:04 am

Can You Name this Celebrity Chef?

Alabama Steak Sandwich

Circa 1989


Who is this mullet-sporting spatula-jockey patiently attending the fried bologna? Mario Batali? Nope. Thomas Keller, Emeril Legasse, Ina Garten? No way. Is this possibly a still from the newest Jack Black flick – you know the one where he plays an ego-maniacal man-child whose head is clogged with bong water? Close.

This picture is of course everyone’s favorite wannabe TV chef, Stuart Reb Donald proudly rocking the porn-stash.  Easy, ladies, there’s enough to go around.

April 6, 2009 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

Batali on the Today Show

Iron Chef Mario Batali was on the Today Show this morning showing Matt Lauer different toppings for bruschetta.  He has lost a bunch of weight.  Like a whole Jonas Brother’s worth of weight.  Good for you, Mario.  Looking good, man!

March 12, 2009 at 8:58 am

Bittman Gets Obssesed

Originally published at Edible TV on March 5, 2009.

As Mark Bittman approaches icon status in the culinary world he has done so by being himself and going his own way.  Many Edible TV readers will recognize him from appearances on various cooking shows including his hit PBS docu-series Spain – On the Road Again with pals Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols.  Recently Bittman has crossed over into the mainstream.

Tuesday night Bittman was a guest on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report with Steven Colbert.  Seriously, he was.  He was on to discuss his new book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 RecipesFood Matters takes a look at how our mass production food industry has contributed to climate change and global warming.  The New York Times columnist states that if we could each eliminate three animal product meals a week (he used three hamburgers as an example) that it would mean that we could all drive big SUV’s in good conscience.

The Colbert appearance comes on the heels of an excellent interview on Obssessed TV hosted by Samantha Ettus (a show conceived by Wine Library TV creator Gary Vaynerchuk).  The nature of the interview was similar with Bittman pontificating our personal responsibility on the cusp of ecological upheaval from a culinary standpoint.  I could give you more low down on the appearance but it is easier for me if you just click HERE and watch it for yourself.

Wednesday morning Bittman continued his whirlwind tour by teaching Matt Lauer and the gang at the Today Show how to make stir fry at home.  Again he went low animal product by making his stir-fry veggie heavy.  He emphasized that not only is this do-it-yourself stir-fry much tastier than anything you can get through take-out but it is also inexpensive.

What does the future hold for Mark Bittman?  I don’t know, but I bet it will taste good.

March 6, 2009 at 10:07 am

Mario Batali, the King of Spain and the F-bomb

Much has been made of cheflebrity Mario Batali’s use of the f-word at a $1,000-a-plate dinner during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last week.  Apparently while introducing fellow cheflebrity Jose Andres, Batali spoke the forbidden word and did so within feet of honored guests King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.  For good measure he then grabbed Andres’ bum.

What I cannot understand is why is this news?  A chef dropped the f-bomb?  Really?  Someone in the restaurant industry used profanity?  That is an issue?

NEWSFLASH: People in the food service industry cuss . . . a lot.

Why?  Because no word in history has ever hurt anyone.  We in the culinary arts are just more enlightened than those in other professions.

Perhaps it isn’t what he said that has those in the media in a tizzy?  It could be where he said it but again that argument lacks buoyancy as well.  It was spoken in a crowd of chefs and restaurant types.  It’s likely they didn’t even notice.

So it must be that he said it in front of visiting leaders from a forgein country.  Except that, like England, Spain’s monarchy is mostly ornamental.  Also these dignataries were from Spain a country that has actually surpassed France and Italy as the place to go for a great restaurant.  I bet Ferran Adrià wouldn’t bat an eye if the f-word were uttered in the legendary kitchen of El Bulli.

So to close this issue let me say that Mario Batali used the f-word, big wup.

February 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."



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