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Mark Wahlberg’s Favorite Dish

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Paul & Mark Wahlberg in the kitchen at Alma Nove.

I know exactly what I would have done if I’d been at the after-party for the acclaimed new film The Fighter. I would have won the raffle for the signed boxing gloves that Mark Wahlberg wore in the film (benefits going to the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation). And I would have eaten all the food prepared by Paul Wahlberg (brother of Mark), including countless mini cod cakes and steak crostini. Paul didn’t cater the party to keep costs down; he’s a chef who’s cooked all around Boston before opening his six-month-old restaurant, Alma Nove, in Hingham, Massachusetts. (Alma is the Wahlberg family matriarch; nova is nine, for her nine children.)

There’s another reason Paul catered The Fighter party: He’s worked as Mark’s personal chef on films ranging from Max Payne to The Lovely Bones and knows what his brother likes. One thing that Mark really likes: old-school macaroni salad. Paul tells the story this way: “One day, Mark said, ‘You know what I’d really like? Macaroni salad. Call up Ma and get the recipe.’ I made her recipe, Mark tasted it and said ‘Call her again.’ I realized I wasn’t thinking in Ma’s terms; I was using a really nice olive oil, she used vegetable oil. I had to put my head back to Dorchester [Massachusetts], where we grew up in the '70s; I had to go back to those ingredients. So I made it right, and Mark said, ‘It’s better, but Ma still makes it best.’”

Coming tomorrow: Alma Wahlberg’s macaroni salad.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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