I spoke with überchef Mario Batali this morning about two items related to the upcoming Aspen Ideas Festival. For our “The Future of Water” session, I wanted to know more about his views on water resources and what he’s doing in his restaurants. In two weeks, he said, his New York eatery, Del Posto, will no longer offer imported bottled water. That is, bottled water imported from anywhere beyond its doors on Tenth Avenue. Batali has installed filtration equipment and, for those who want a bit of fizz, a carbonation machine. “There’s no sense in shipping water all over the world when, in fact, we have access to great water right where we are,” he said.
Considering that I’m moderating the session, “Turning the Tide: Sustaining the Ocean Harvest,” I was curious how Mario fared with his fish fare. Very informed, it turns out. He says his restaurants follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. “Our responsibility to be good restaurateurs is not only to make a good meal anymore, it’s to really help people affect the decisions they want to make in the long term about limited natural resources. That includes everything from overfished waters to drinking water, it includes fuel sources. It includes a lot of the decisions that are implicit sadly in poor restauranteur ship. And that we can help raise everyone’s awareness to the plethora of decisions available to us and help people make those decisions.”
Listen to the interview here.
J. Carl Ganter is co-founder and director of Circle of Blue, the internationally recognized center for original frontline reporting, research, and analysis on resource issues with a focus on the intersection between water, food, and energy.