Issue No. 14, Fall 2009, Volume 9, Number 1

Inside Out

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Batali and Bourdain ... on Spanish ham and more

One could have been in a dark, dingy bar somewhere, the way the two flushed, jovial fellows knocked back cold brews while ranting about travelling, their children and the economy. But the R-rated banter emerged from a presentation at Miami Book Fair International. The presenters, superstar chef and restaurateur Mario Batali and “anti-celebrity chef” Anthony Bourdain kept the tone irreverent – and entertaining – with their jokes, jabs and opinions.

They discussed their favorite food writers (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Marco Pierre White), the food they would choose to eat if deserted on an island (linguini with clams, sushi), and the Food Network chef they would choose last to cook their Thanksgiving feast (sorry, Sandra Lee and Robin Miller).

Bourdain was visiting the Fair to promote his latest book, The Nasty Bits, while Batali was in town supporting Spain … On the Road Again, a PBS TV series and accompanying book about Spanish food and culture. The series – co-hosted by Batali and Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow – spawned the most barbed quip of the night from Bourdain, who asked pointedly, “Why on Earth would you choose to do a food show with someone who so obviously doesn’t eat?”

Above the din of laughter that filled the room,Batali retorted, “I traveled with someone who won’t touch Spanish ham. But I looked at the positive: more for me.”

Read about the 2009 Book Fair at

— Katherine Joss

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