America’s Pasta Pusher

Mario Batali is the latest celebrity chef to capture Americans’ hearts and stomachs. The Seattle native owns and operates three successful Italian restaurants in New York, hosts two television cooking shows and is the author of three cookbooks about Italian culture and cuisine. Recently, he graced the cover of Gourmet magazine–having launched a new line of pasta sauces–and is planning a new Manhattan pizzeria that is scheduled to open in December. NEWSWEEK’s Julie Scelfo spoke to Batali about why Americans have become so infatuated with Italian culture and cuisine. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Why are Americans so interested in Italian culture? Why not Belgian or Czech?Batali: Not to insult those countries, but aside from a couple of things from Belgium or Czechoslovakia, their culture is not exported here. We don’t even know what they do. Italians have made it their business to export Italian culture, from spaghetti, to design, to poster art, to wine and soft drinks. If you open a bar in…



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