Mario Batali's heaping helping of controversy

 
 

After comparing bankers to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, celebrity chef Mario Batali is backpedaling as fast as his tradmark orange Crocs will let him, hoping to avoid mass cancellations at his high-end New York City restaurants Babbo and Del Posto.

Batali, who grew up in Federal Way and owns more than a dozen restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, was on a Time magazine panel in New York Tuesday taking part in a discussion of who should be Time's Person of the Year for 2011. Batali suggeted food writer Michael Pollan should be considered, then let his opinion continue unchecked with this, according to The New York Times: “But I would have to say that who has had the largest effect on the whole planet without us really paying attention across the board and everywhere is the entire banking industry and their disregard for the people that they’re supposed to be working for.”

Batali continued: “The way the bankers have toppled the way that money is distributed, and taken most of it into their own hands, is as good as Stalin or Hitler, the evil guys."

Since the story broke, the Twitterverse has been apoplectic, with some in the banking community calling for boycotts of Batali's many restaurants. Batali, who was back in Seattle last week for a pricey fundraiser benefiting the Seattle Art Museum, has since apologized, saying, "It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history."

Still, he may want to choose carefully next time he's shopping for a loan to open his next restaurant.

 

 

Related Content

At a boutique hotel in the chic Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., you can use your smartphone to check in and use it again to unlock the door to your room.

The transformation of Seattle’s South Lake Union from a quiet area of light industry and wholesale florists to a neighborhood of high-rise office buildings housing Amazon’s global empire has not been all business. 

Welcome to the You Decade. Retailers have a much better understanding of what it takes to get you to open your wallet.

Madeline Haydon is one of thousands of entrepreneurs across the country betting that more healthful, planet-friendly foods and beverages will make them good money. Many are cashing in with tech-like returns, thanks to an ecosystem of investors eager to buy in, consumers ready to try new, “clean” food and food giants hungry for acquisitions.