Jennifer Rubell: Mario Batali is a great chef. I don’t know about past because . . . I mean Julia Child is a great home cook. Alice Waters, the food genius of America. I mean she is the person who took America from being a really pretty mediocre food place to being a really pretty great food place. I would say . . . I would say those are pretty decent . . . You’re gonna get me into a lot of trouble. (Chuckles) There are . . . You know the thing is I think that there are a lot of very talented chefs out there. In terms of people who have changed the way Americans eat, there are really just a few. But different people have done different things. You know Wolfgang Puck created the open kitchen in restaurants. That shifted the ways chefs were seen in restaurants in America and really opened the door to the sort of celebrity chef culture that goes on now, which is good or bad depending on what you think of it. But the great chefs just from a food perspective and what they did for food . . . I mean Mario Batali popularized cured meats in America period. He did that, and it’s done. You go to any city in America now, and whatever kind of hip, swanky restaurant is curing their own meat. It’s wild. It’s really wild. And Alice Water . . . Waters got people into farmer’s markets, and got people into looking at things locally, and got people into believing that great products can be produced in America.
Recorded on 12/13/07