Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Goes on Food Stamps Budget

Melissa Knowles
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Can you get by on $1.48 per meal for a week? That's the campaign challenge that the Food Bank for New York City has posed to those interested in seeing what it's like to live on food stamps. Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his family have accepted the challenge and are living on $31 a week per person. Batali, his wife, and their two teenage sons are doing something that 1.8 million New Yorkers and 46 million Americans depend on.

Batali admits the challenge was difficult at first, but he has adapted. Instead of eating expensive items such as filet mignon or truffle oil, he chooses beans, rice, chicken, and pasta. He said he quickly learned that not buying organic could cut the price of produce by 50 percent. As for his kids, they're eating plenty of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right now.

He is even spreading the message of the challenge on his daily show "The Chew" and telling viewers how to eat more cheaply. Plus, he insists he is not cheating. He does not taste the food that he prepares in his live cooking segments, but there's always free smells, right?

On Twitter, many people are applauding the chef and marveling at his ability to exercise self-control despite his access to high-quality foods. However, there are some who are bashing Batali and the cost of the food that is served at his restaurants. Batali's response: "What do you do to help someone else?"

Batali tweets pictures of the cost-reduced meals he prepares and uses the hashtag #FoodStampChallengeNYC. Batali and other celebrities are participating to raise awareness about hunger. He is a board member of the food relief agency Food Bank for New York City.


The death of Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch two weeks ago sent shockwaves of sorrow through the hip-hop community. Tributes to the late artist have poured in from all over the Web. One memorial comes from Portland-based filmmaker James Winters.

Winters collaborated with his wife, kids, and nephew to re-create one of the group's biggest hits, "Sabotage." Since being uploaded to Vimeo just two days ago, the video has received more than 435,000 views. The tribute video is a pint-sized version of the original, which was designed to be a parody of a '70s cop show and was directed by Spike Jonze.

Reactions to the tribute video have been overwhelmingly positive, with people calling it awesome and superb.

Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer, was 47.