Mario's Meats

Chef Batali Gets Serious About Butchery For His Latest Venture Chi Spacca

Celebrity gourmand Mario Batali explores the sensory frontiers of the nose-to-tail cooking he popularized in the States in today’s film by Alison Chernick, shot on site at Chi Spacca (“cleaver” in Italian) in Los Angeles. The intimate meat emporium is the latest addition to an epicurean empire that includes Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Having just opened its doors this February—helmed by the indefatigable Mozza restaurant trio made up of Nancy Silverton, Joseph Bastianich and Batali himself—Chi Spacca showcases the charcuterie talents of Head Chef and Batali disciple Chad Colby, whose philosophy concerning the preparation of meat chimes with his mentor’s own. Colby became so entranced by Italian salami culture that he developed the first authorized “dry cure” program in LA, a lengthy process involving the addition of salts and other ingredients that can take months or even years, but which results in an array of pungent meats made in house. “What isn’t captured in the video is the wild smells,” recalls Chernick of her experience filming. “I have been enlightened by the science of a good salami, and we can thank Mario for capturing Italian culture and bringing it to us on a platter.”

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  • Arcadian Acres
    If anyone is interested in purchasing any pure bred Red Wattle Hogs or pork as featured in this video, you can find it at www . ArcadianAcres. com We raise our Red Wattles on pasture and in the woods full time, 100% soy free and organically.

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  • On Replay
    On Replay

    I’m So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth

    New York Artist Aïda Ruilova Heads West for a Provocative New Exhibition

    Vintage erotica and voyeurism are on display in I’m So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth, an exhibition of multidisciplinary works from acclaimed West Virginia-born, New York-based artist Aïda Ruilova in her West Coast debut at LA’s Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery. From the pages of the intense Werner Herzog-associated actor Klaus Kinski’s notoriously fictionalized autobiography, the exhibition’s title acts as visceral kindling to Ruilova’s themes of self-caricature, desire, intoxication and escape. Posters advertizing the classic 1970s French erotica film series Emmanuelle and the soft-focus fantasy knock-offs it inspired are inscribed with black paint from which leer cartoon eyes. The images’ allure lies in their “exploitation of the figure to propagate the identity of the franchise film,” explains Ruilova, whose works have shown in the Venice and Whitney Biennales. The pools of black are her way of “adding another narrative that is like a void.” Also on view is a 45-minute video work in which celebrated grindhouse director Abel Ferrara discusses how he would direct his own death scene in relation to that of the late Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italian radical and gruesomely murdered director of incendiary 1975 film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

    I’m So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth runs from today March 23 through May 4 at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery, Santa Monica.

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  • MOST SHARED IN GASTRONOMY
    MOST SHARED IN GASTRONOMY

    Demon Days: Alvin Leung

    The Michelin-Starred Bo Innovation Chef Takes Us to the “X-treme” Edge of Cooking

    Amid tentacles and open flames, the self-professed “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung reveals a wicked palate and a penchant for carnal creations in this short by filmmaker Ryan Hopkinson. Born in London and raised in Toronto, Leung rose to prominence in Hong Kong, becoming known for what he calls “X-treme Chinese” cuisine, a far-out technique that harnesses the futuristic appeal of molecular gastronomy alongside the wide reach of fusion. The incendiary results both morph traditional Chinese recipes into kinky culinary experiences, and tackle off-the-plate issues: the self-taught chef’s signature dish, Sex on the Beach, serves up an edible “condom” on a shitake beach, created to raise funds and awareness for AIDS charity. Preparing to launch Bo London, an offshoot of his prominent Hong Kong Bo Innovation, set to open in Mayfair this autumn, Leung spoke to NOWNESS about the science—and the magic—behind his delectable madness.

    With all the different genres of cooking out there today, why choose “X-treme Cuisine”? 
    I want to give people something more than tags like fusion, molecular or modern contemporary. I'm known for a couple of shocking dishes: Bo Bo for instance was wagyu beef with black truffle and foie gras, but served in a can. But X-treme isn’t just about being shocking; it’s exciting because it can take you to your limits and give people a new, surprising experience. 

    What inspires your X-treme recipes?
    I try to incorporate some element of familiarity when I cook; I make my food multi-sensory because when you eat it combines several senses: sight, smell, temperature and texture. In the East, texture and temperature are very important, and in the West taste and the visual take priority. Using all your senses creates a memory—you're associating and comparing.

    How might you adapt a classic, familiar dish?
    Shalong Boa (little dragon), or Xiao Long Bao in Mandarin, is a dish of tiny pork bouillon dumplings that explode in your mouth. Traditionally they would wrap a thick pastry around chopped up pork fat and seasoning and steam it so that when you bite into it you taste the liquid. I map the perfect Xiao Long Boa using the dish’s original flavors, with the addition of spherification (shaping liquid into spheres), so it looks like an egg yolk—it tastes the same as the original dish, even though that’s not what it appears to be. 
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