The Food Network has an early holiday present for fans of Italian cuisine, orange Crocs, and cooking shows where people really cook: Mario Batali is coming back to the show that first made him famous! There will be six new episodes of Molto Mario starting next year.
Mario Batali started teaching people to cook on Molto Mario in 1997, and it was one of the standouts of the Food Network's early, pre-Iron Chef days. Batali is a world-class chef, and he's also engaging and charismatic, with a relatable teaching style. You could watch Molto Mario, follow Batali's instructions, and actually become a better cook. He inspired a ton of people to get more involved in cooking.
One of Batali's biggest strengths was making his cooking seem accessible. Batali is a master, but his techniques aren't intimidating or esoteric. He's friendly and straightforward, and gives viewers the confidence that they can actually do what they're watching him do on TV.
"When you talk about technical terms in the kitchen, they're very simply based," he once explained to Jake Gyllenhaal, who was very confused by the term bench flour, which is just flour sprinkled on the work surface.
Batali made viewers think they could not only learn to follow a host's recipe and put an OK dish on the table, but he also made them think they could learn to cook really well. Batali probably inspired a lot of people to buy some really expensive knives over the years.
Molto Mario ended back in 2005, although Batali appeared on other Food Network shows until 2010. It's really pretty amazing that Batali is bringing his cooking show back, because he's way more famous and busy now than he was when he left. He has a slew of restaurants and all of his Eataly Italian food markets, and he's also a host of ABC's The Chew. He has a lot going on.
"Mario Batali has long been one of the most approachable and engaging chefs for audiences to enjoy and learn from, masterfully sharing his delicious recipes and stories," Allison Page, general manager of U.S. programming and development for Scripps Networks Interactive, said to Variety.
Batali has already finished filming six new episodes of Molto Mario, and the network promises they have celebrity guests and everything. Considering that Alton Brown is also bringing his beloved food science show, Good Eats, back, it sounds like 2018 will be a very good year for fans of food television.