Mario Batali finds a new venue

By Ric Bohy

July 19, 2009 at 9:13am

As genuine, top-talent chefs become increasingly irrelevant in the Food Network’s dumbed-down schedule of reality shows and challenge matches, the displaced members of the old guard are finding entirely different landing places.

The latest example is Mario Batali, the internationally acclaimed Italian chef and cookbook author, who is moonlighting as the voice of a character in the new animated movie Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Mario Batali
Mario Batali

It’s directed by Wes Anderson, who has earned a large cult following with such films as Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Fan site The Rushmore Academy reports that Batali will voice the role of “Rabbit” in Fox, which is based on the Roald Dahl children’s book.

George Clooney and Meryl Streep star as the voices of Mr. Fox and Mrs. Fox, with a supporting cast that includes Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Anjelica Huston.

Batali is co-owner of Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca and six other restaurants in New York City. He co-starred in the PBS series, Spain…On the Road Again.

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