Food for Thought with Mario Batali

About five years ago, I created the Mario Batali Foundation to put all (or nearly all) of my charitable efforts toward a singular focus: children. Particularly children’s disease research, hunger relief and literacy guarantee. As a New York restaurant owner, I’m solicited for donations daily, but when we donated piecemeal, it was hard to track the impact of our giving. The Mario Batali Foundation helps us focus on one group in need and try to maximize the impact of our giving.
 
1) How can people get involved with the Mario Batali Foundation?
 
This summer, we’re gearing up for two annual events: Honors Dinner and Swing Session Celebrity Golf Classic. Buy tickets, volunteer, donate!!
 
2) What do you enjoy most about golf and the golfing lifestyle?
 
Golf is a simple and relaxing way to spend a few hours with good friends at least 200 yards from just about everything else. It represents freedom to improve and freedom to remain the same, and is usually played on some of the most beautiful real estate anywhere.
 
3) What kind of clubs do you play with?  What is your favorite apparel to wear when golfing?
 
I play TaylorMade Rocketballz Irons and Woods and custom Titleist Wedges. They were gifts from The Haney Project and TaylorMade. I like casual shorts, bright shirts and Ecco shoes.
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4) Besides clubs, what else is in your golf bag?
 
Bug spray, a cell phone camera and a small flask of swing grease; either Midleton or Old Pappy.
 
5) Is playing golf like cooking in any way?
 
Both are actually skills you can improve at any age! Both are incredibly satisfying yet often perplexing to the amateur.
 
6) What would be your response to a fan question such as, “I’m in love with a golf addict. What should I do to win him over?”
 
Let him play whenever he wants and invite his friends over for post-links supper and beverages.
 
7) What’s your swing thought? Meaning, as you approach the tee, and you’re feeling confident about your drive, what goes through your head? How does that swing thought inform the rest of your career and your personal life?
 
I choose a target and concentrate on getting it there. The life lessons are exactly the same: don’t be a hero and go for impossible shots, but get there.
 
8) When the food and beverage carts come around, what would your ideal golf outing menu entail?  
 
Depends on the location. I love a taco and a beer in Mexico, but generally I drink little and eat only fruit when I am playing.
 
9) What are your favorite golf courses?
 
Arcadia Bluffs, Bayonne, Kiawah Ocean, Waterville.
 
10) What are your favorite golf memories?
 
Playing with Hunter Mahan, The Edge and President Clinton on 14 at Liberty during my Foundation Tourney.
 
11) Who is your favorite golfer?
 
Hunter Mahan and my two sons, Benno and Leo.
 
12) What are restaurant or food “must haves” for people going to the PGA Championship in Rochester, NY?
 
Dinosaur BBQ and Roncones are my two stops!

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