Mario Batali would like you (and more importantly the banking community) to know that he does not actually believe most bankers are like Hitler or Stalin. After bankers started canceling reservations and threatening to boycott his many restaurants, the Croc-loving chef took to Twitter (and his press team took to e-mail) for some serious damage control. "To remove any ambiguity about my appearance at yesterday’s Time Person of the Year panel, I want to apologize for my remarks," he tweeted. And then, just in case that wasn't clear enough, he followed that up with: "It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history."
Still, Batali's apologies may (may!) be too little, too late. "I love his restaurants, but I’m done with Mario Batali, I will never eat at another of his places," an Arkansas businessman who frequently dined at Batali’s restaurants in New York and Las Vegas, wrote in an e-mail. "He’s insulted a considerable number of his customers at the very time Wall Street is shrinking organically. It’ll be interesting to see where his businesses are in five years. Very, very dumb move on his part."
But, to be fair, not everyone is quite that upset over the chef's remarks. "It does seem like a strange thing to say from someone who has benefited from the largesse of the banking community over the years," a former banker and restaurateur told the Journal. "But I still think he's a fantastically talented chef." And as another points out, a lot of Batali's business comes from outside the banking community anyway: "He could probably piss off every bank in the world and still be fine. Maybe Goldman will cancel their Christmas party at Del Posto, but that's about it."
Shame, we really would have liked a chance at a Babbo reservation after 5:30 p.m.