Welcome, Mario Batali

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Who doesn't love Mario Batali? Pretty much nobody, and it's been that way for a long time. I first met him on a bus in, I think, northern Italy with a bunch of chefs, and knew him from the fantastically enthusiastic descriptions of his parents-in-law, Lillian and Miles Cahn, founders of Coach Farm. Fantastic enthusiasm is what defined him then (20 years ago easy) and now—as you'll see in his first post for the Food Channel, the first of many on what he's up to and what he's thinking about food and the restaurants he runs.

This one is starry—Mario's become a star, and his life is populated with them too, especially when it comes to raising money for something he cares about, the subject of today's post. But the go-ahead, see-everything, learn-everything, cook-everything guy I met on the bus is the same guy writing today. I'm really happy we'll get to go places with him.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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