Friday, April 25, 2008

Chef Mario Batali

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In my neighborhood here in Manhattan, I'm always seeing celebrities, if not literally nearly bumping into them at times. (a lot of movies and TV shows are filmed in this area) Usually, like most New Yorkers, when I spot a famous person, I do a double-take... but never bother them. On my street alone I have seen Edward Norton, Matthew Broderick, Liv Tyler, Julianne Moore, Ellen Barkin, Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Sam Waterston, Drew Barrymore, Benjamin Brat, and many others. A couple days ago I spotted the American chef Mario Batali. (from "Molto Mario" and the "Iron Chef" cooking shows on the Food Network, and of course all his books and wonderful of which, Babbo, is very close to my home) The close proximity of this popular restaurant probably explains why I saw him walking toward me. 

Now, in this instance, with my younger brother being a chef and a big fan of Mario I decided to summon up the gall and ask for his autograph, to give to my brother. But as we got closer, Mario started talking on his cell phone, so I aborted the autograph quest and just said, "Hi, chef Batali." He gave me a nod in response.

When I got back to my studio, I did this quick caricature of him... though, I made him look sweet. In reality, at that moment, he had an intense game face on... Maybe he was hammering out a contract for a new restaurant. Anyway, he looked like he could have snapped me in half like a twig, and I am glad he elected not to. 

I've illustrated quite a few cook books, and hundreds of food related images for magazines... so, maybe some day I will get to illustrate one of Mario's cook books. (and then I will make sure to get his autograph!)

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