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Mario Batali cut himself his first day on television

Larry King NowApr 10 '17

Restaurant magnate Mario Batali traces his path to becoming a celebrity chef, including a bloody run-in with a grater his first day on television.

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Larry King: What made you? How did Mario Batali get to be Mario, was there a point?

Mario Batali: Well there was a point at the beginning of the Food Network, when I started a show called ‘Molto Mario,’ and as opposed to merely cooking and chopping and putting things in pans, I started to discuss the geo-specificity of ingredients and the regional variations in Italian cooking all over the country of Italy, and that gave me a voice of a certain truth-sayer I believe.

Larry King: Were you always comfortable on television?
Mario Batali: Well at my very first show I grated my fingers so hard when I was grating carrots that I bled, and I thought that I would hide them. And I sunk them into a can of tomatoes to squeeze the tomatoes, and blood red is not tomato red, so you could just see it. And I was a little shaky, but after a couple of months I felt pretty comfortable.

Larry King: When did chefs become celebrities?

Mario Batali: I think probably The Food Network really elevated guys like Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse, but the first ones who weren’t really professional chefs were Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. They didn’t really make their restaurant business part of their TV business, they moved to TV and that was always it.

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