Recensie Batali: The fall of a superstar chef [HBO Max]

Director: Singeli Agnew | Time to play: 78 minutes | Year: 2023

One of the restaurateurs who worked with American chef Mario Batali suggests in the HBO Max documentary dedicated to the chef that Batali’s success may have taken him by surprise. I didn’t know what hit him, so you start behaving strangely. Sounds suspiciously like an excuse for sexually transgressive behavior by a man in power.

It’s a bad statement in an age when you can’t open a newspaper or click through a website without reading stories about, in particular, men in power abusing their position and committing filth and riots. After the revelations in the case of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and the MeToo movement, those involved should know better.

The man in question, from the aforementioned misstatement, goes a step further by suggesting that he may regret taking part in the investigation into Batali’s behaviour. Because he has also caused many additional victims, such as Batali’s family. A typical example of victim blaming.

The flamboyant and energetic Batali made a special appearance. With his long red hair, orange crocs, portly appearance, and unmatched charisma, the chef was hard to ignore in every way imaginable. Batali made a name for himself in the 1990s, getting involved in more than twenty restaurants around the world and landing his own TV cooking show. As his power in the international restaurant world grew, so did his already huge ego.

The people who worked with Batali told stories showing that the cook could afford anything. Playing heavy metal music while his New York restaurant was full, because he was the boss, so who would the customers complain to? Or let yourself be orally satisfied in the middle of the kitchen. His restaurant owners looked the other way, kept their mouths shut, and often dismissed those who complained about Batali’s behavior.

It is a sad observation that a documentary on such a topical and important subject no longer impresses due to its sketchy execution. Especially with the thought in mind that there can never be enough attention to combat transgressive (sexual) behavior. After the world of film and television, music, literature, politics and big business, the culinary world is not always a safe place to work.

Here we also see the same mechanisms at work. Sexual misconduct has less to do with sex than with power. Courageous women step forward to tell their story, fueling their disbelief in the process. Their careers are largely over and the real perpetrators are still firmly in the saddle.

Director Singeli Agnew spends a lot of time on his already short documentary to establish Batali’s success and image. Time he could have been better spent on victim stories and expert analysis. With a few brief sketches we could have gotten an idea of ​​Batali’s condition. batali is the sad textbook example of a man who achieved superstar status, believed in himself too much, and therefore thought he could afford anything.

Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chaf can be seen in hbo max.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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