Mario Batali to Guest Edit April Issue of Food & Wine

The celebrity chef was "awesome with a deadline"

When Food & Wine magazine began assembling its annual Italy-themed April issue, editor in chief Dana Cowin knew exactly who she wanted on board: Mario Batali, the king of Italian cooking. Soon enough, Batali had signed on to be the magazine’s first guest editor.

Batali, who has done some magazine writing before but never as an editor, said that he was “exuberant” when Cowin approached him. Cowin was equally thrilled with the collaboration: “It turns out that he’s awesome with a deadline, and he can write,” she told Adweek. “There was no ghosting here—he wrote every single word.”

Among Batali’s contributions to the magazine were a list of favorite restaurants in Italy with up-and-coming chefs, a Q&A with author (and friend) Jim Harrison, an “editor’s pick” book by Dr. Oz daughter Daphne Oz, and a special cover recipe.

Batali also shot a feature with Jimmy Fallon, another friend, which Cowin described as “probably the most fun I’ve had on any shoot in all of my years at Food & Wine.” (According to Batali, “It started innocently as a cooking lesson for Jimmy in a fancy apartment in Manhattan and, well, it ended up in the tub with strawberries all over the place.”)

As for whether we’ll continue to see Batali’s byline in the future, he told Adweek, “I sure hope so. I love the literary component of our business and am a huge fan of print in general. Stay posted—I may have a few tricks up my sleeve this year.”

The issue hits newsstands on March 15, and includes a roster of new advertisers like Armani Fragrance, Crest and Jell-O.