Of course Mario Batali is one of the country's top chefs and restaurateurs. But he's also basically a big kid with a very big heart. So it makes all kinds of sense that when he decided to start a charity, the Mario Batali Foundation, it would be to benefit kids. According to its mission statement, the MBF aims to "ensure that all children are well read, well fed and well cared for." (As Serious Eats reported, Batali wants to keep the scope as broad as possible, eventually awarding scholarships and doing events with the Yankees.)

This Saturday afternoon, May 9, Mario kicks off MBF with an awesome event. At Tribeca Cinemas in NYC he'll host a pre-release screening of Up, the animated Disney-Pixar film about a balloon-powered trip to South America. Just as awesome is the after-party he's throwing next door, which will include barbecue from Daisy May's, charcuterie, cheese and GelOTTO (i.e., gelato from Otto's gelato cart), as well as sublime cupcakes from Kyotofu. And carnival games, too. Jimmy Buffett bought 20 tickets (which he donated them to Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club of the Bronx) and Emeril, Jill Hennessy and The Soprano's Michael Imperioli have all already snagged seats. So there's hardly any tickets left, but there are a few. You can get them at, where you can also get more info about his excellent new charity.