With a slew of cookbooks, restaurants, products (including his own line of Crocs) and TV shows, chef Mario Batali is the king of a culinary empire. He’s taking over the world, which is why we featured him this week in our original series “A Day in the Life.” We bugged Batali with some questions while he was on vacation, and he was kind enough to answer back via email about traveling, weird food, his ideal day, and Doritos.
Describe your absolute perfect day.
Yoga early in the morning, a round of golf with my kids. End with dinner around our dining room table.
What was your favorite meal as a kid?
I always looked forward to the ricotta, swiss chard, and calves’ brain ravioli my grandma made at Christmas. Curious, but delicious.
When you’re not working, where’s your favorite place to be?
On the lake in northern Michigan with my family.
Where would you go for your next culinary road trip?
Morocco. I’m making my way through Fez, Marrakech, and Casablanca on spring break with my kids. The flavors are unique and delicious. It will definitely merit a road trip. By rickshaw, of course.
Who in your life, chef or not, has inspired you recently?
A couple of weeks ago, I had a mind-blowing meal at Alinea with influences of [Marc] Chagall, King Crimson, Ken Kesey, and Poseidon. Grant Achatz is inspired.
Most people are squeamish about organ meat, squid ink, lamb brains, etc. But what is the one “life-changing” weird food that you would urge people to try and why?
Beef cheek ravioli at Babbo is the perfect gateway offal.
What has been your greatest accomplishment within the Batali empire?
Next month, we’re opening our first restaurant in China. I can’t [wait] to bring our casual Italian cooking and sensibility to the Chinese public.
What’s your favorite hangover food?
The hair of the dog that bit you.
How many pairs of Crocs do you own?
Three or four at any one time.
Do you have a packaged or “processed” food vice? If so, what is it?
I really like Doritos. Not just tortilla chips. Doritos.
Get a behind-the-scenes look into Mario Batali’s life in the latest episode of ”A Day in the Life“ right here on Hulu.