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Tastemakers: Mario Batali‘s Molto Gusto/ Market fresh mixology

Rick Coates - August 9th, 2010
Mario Batali’s “Molto Gusto”
The world’s third best-selling book of all time after the bible and the dictionary is the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” with more than 30 million copies sold since it was first released in 1930. Cookbooks represent a large market share in the book publishing industry with sales in 2010 about $1 billion in the United States alone. Industry studies show that about 40% of Americans “collect” cookbooks and the average household has at least 20 cookbooks.
One of the top cookbook authors out there today is Mario Batali. While Batali’s fame from his years on the Food Network coupled with him being one of the top restauranteurs in America has given him celebrity status, the popularity of his cookbooks goes beyond that. Batali will be the next writer/author in the popular National Writers Series this Saturday in Traverse City.
Batali’s success in authoring bestselling cookbooks might start with his celebrity but ultimately the practicality and functionality of the recipes within his books give him longevity in a crowded field. His latest effort, “Molto Gusto,” is a collection of recipes primarily from his popular NY eatery Otto Enoteca Pizzeria.
In typical Batali fashion, this cookbook as, with his previous ones, will satisfy the novice to the gourmand in the kitchen. Everyone wants to make great pizza at home and Batali shows you how. Another trademark to Batali’s work is creating robust flavors with simple recipes; “Molto Gusto” is perfect for those on the go who want to create great and flavorful dishes quickly. For the vegetarian or the pasta lover this will be a hit. The photography will inspire and stimulate as well.
Time spent in the kitchen should be fun and Batali’s passion, sense of humor and artistry all come through in “Molto Gusto.” To learn more about his appearance at the National Writers Series go to --Rick Coates

Market-Fresh Mixology
Bridget Albert is considered one of the top “mixologists” in the world. She will be a major part of “An Evening with Mario Batali” on Saturday, August 14, a special author and food event presented by the National Writer’s Series and Porterhouse Productions. The event, scheduled from 5 to 10 p.m. on the front lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, will feature 10 dishes from Batali’s various cookbooks. Albert will introduce a signature Traverse CIty cocktail that she has created exclusively for the event.
Now on the surface this might not seem like such a big deal, but Albert’s expertise in the world of cocktails is highly sought after. She designs cocktails for several top restaurants, bars, hotels and lounges. Most recently, she designed and executed the cocktail program at the Trump International Towers in Chicago. Albert has won numerous awards including first place at the Tale of the Cocktail Bar Chef Competition, second place at the Bacardi Martini Grand Prix World Finals in Turin, Italy, third place in the Pitu Cacacha Nationals in Las Vegas, and first place in the Bellagio Classic Competition.
So it is a safe bet that Traverse City will be proud of the cocktail she creates for this event. While she is not giving any hints prior to Saturday, participants will receive a copy of the recipe on their cocktail napkins. This will certainly become a classic and expect area establishments to be making this cocktail as soon the event ends at 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Albert is a Master Mixologist and is the Director of the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service, a program for bartenders that covers the history of all spirits and pre-prohibition cocktails. She has appeared on numerous television programs, including on the Food Network.
Her book “Market-Fresh Mixology” incorporates using fresh ingredients found at the farmers market or your garden in classic and contemporary cocktails. It’s a practical guide for the person who likes to host innovative cocktail parties or if you just want to jazz up that cocktail hour after work. The book is full of tips on the art of cocktail-mixing techniques to proper glassware and garnishes and has several full-color photographs. Look for “Market-Fresh Mixology” at your favorite bookseller and be sure to have her sign it Saturday night. --Rick Coates
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