May 19, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Heat

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Amy Brenneman, Dennis Haysbert, Ashley Judd, Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman, Henry Rollins, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight
director
Michael Mann
genre
Mystery and Thriller
We gave it an A-

In 2002, New Yorker staffer Buford began apprenticing after-hours at NYC’s Babbo. Though as a novice he was known as ”the kitchen bitch,” he fell hard for the gutsy food and eventually went on to study tortellini wrapping and hog butchering in Italy.

Kitchen Hero
Mario Batali, Babbo’s flamboyantly Rabelaisian, filthy-mouthed chef. His motto: ”Wretched excess is just barely enough.”

The Skinny
Buford’s account of his romance with Italian cooking is wonderfully thoughtful and personal, if meandering.

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