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Chefs Make Change

10 Highlights from Mario Batali's Honors Dinner

Jimmy Fallon has got Jeff Tweedy's guitar and Jamie Oliver on drums.

Jimmy Fallon has got Jeff Tweedy's guitar and Jamie Oliver on drums. © Ken Goodman Photography

Sometimes a party is just so good you're talking about it days later. This was one of those parties, and this is me re-playing the highlight reel.

The Place: Del Posto restaurant, Manhattan.

The Occasion: The Second Annual Mario Batali Foundation Honors Dinner. Honoring Jamie Oliver and his Foundation.

The Crowd: Batali, Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche, Salman Rushdie, Mariska Hargitay, Patti Smith, Grace Potter, REM’s Michael Stipe and Mike Mills, artist Jennifer Rubell, Lidia Bastianich, The Chew’s Carla Hall.

The Menu: Indian Summer Pumpkin Salad, Leafy Green Agnolotti, Chicken alla Cacciatore from local hero chef Mark Ladner; Butterscotch Semifreddo from pastry chef Brooks Headley.

The top 10 highlights:

1. Jimmy Fallon’s intro which included a little story about being mistaken for Jeff Tweedy by a group of fans in L.A. then taking a picture with him: “If I hadn’t taken pictures, they would have thought Jeff was a jerk.”

2. The most intimate performance of "Because the Night," with Patti Smith backed up by Wilco’s Tweedy and Glenn Kotche. “I met this guy backstage, I thought he was Jimmy Fallon, he helped me tune my guitar,” she said.

3. Fallon jamming "Wild Thing." “Jeff said, ‘Please don’t use my guitar,’” said Fallon, brandishing Tweedy’s guitar, then launching into the opening chords.

4. Jamie Oliver sitting down at the drum kit after Fallon's first chorus of "Wild Thing."

5. Mark Ladner’s killer gluten-free Leafy Green Agnolotti with Black Truffle Butter, boasting a stuffing of caramelized cavalo nero. “At last year’s Honors dinner, we had to make vegan pasta for President Clinton,” said Ladner. “This year we broke out and used truffle butter.”

6. Salmon Rushdie standing on Del Posto’s high-rising steps to read a short story about a cocky, bold chef. “Imagine that,” he said, looking at Batali.

7. Mariska Hargitay recounting an anecdote about how she met Batali, before he and his orange crocs were so recognizable, when she lived next door to Babbo. “I’d come home from filming late every night, and this guy with an orange ponytail would be sitting on my steps. One night, he had a platter of prosciutto waiting for me, that was it,” she said.

8. Brooks Headley’s veggie burger (a special off-the-menu item), which changed my mind about veggie burgers. “The key is to use a $.99 potato masher to make the patties,” he confided.

9. Jamie Oliver’s stories about taking his Food Revolution Truck to state fairs on the West Coast. (Knowing the roster of deep-fried butter and donut burgers on display at those fairs, I consider this very brave of Oliver.)

10. Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche – WILCO - playing "I’m the Man Who Loves You."

Related: Mario Batali's Very Awesome Honors Dinner
Mario Batali Recipes
Jamie Oliver Recipes

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