Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Why I Love Mario Batali

He goes to events like this:

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s $1,000-a-plate dinner for the king and queen of Spain was gliding along with decorum Thursday night as dignitaries and guests feasted on vanguard cooking by some of Spain’s most important chefs and quaffed some of its best wines.

And then superstar chef Mario Batali, the master of ceremonies, royally messed with what he himself had called a historic and unforgettable occasion.

And says things like this:

”All you weasel f— wads in the back corners, can I have 10 seconds of your time?” Batali said into the microphone, impatient that the crowd wasn’t quieting quickly enough for his introduction of chef José Andrés, culinary chair of the Biltmore Hotel gala.

Jaws dropped in a glittering crowd that included Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and wife, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, the U.S. ambassador to Spain and Julio Iglesias. Gloria Estefan, enjoying the evening with husband, Emilio, chortled.

Batali, wearing pants rather than shorts for once, went on with his introduction of Andrés, whom he called his ”favorite chef in the world,” noting that Andrés’ Los Angeles restaurant, The Bazaar, had just received four stars from the Los Angeles Times.

”The most motherf—— stars of any Spanish restaurant in the U.S.,” Batali said. Those who were seated near the royal couple said the queen blanched.

Observers said Batali, who also grabbed Andrés’ butt, was, well, crocked.

He really needs to be the first celebrity chef to have a show on HBO so he can just be himself.