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Mario Batali's Chi Spacca celebrated in short film

April 04, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila

Via Nowness.com, I came across a beautiful little (three-minute-plus) film about Chi Spacca, ("cleaver") the new Mario Batali et al restaurant next door to Osteria Mozza on Melrose Avenue.

If you haven't been, go. This is a restaurant where Chad Colby, who's responsible for all those fabulous family-style pig dinners at Scuola di Pizza, showcases his meticulous salumi and everything he's learned about the art of whole animal butchery.

The film begins with the sound of a knife being sharpened. Then it cuts to shots of bloody beef and pork and a bistecca going onto the grill. Sizzle! (I'm hungry already.)

Filmmaker Alison Chernick shoots Batali in profile against a plain background talking about why he opened the restaurant -- to give the talented Colby a place of his own. And how cooking in Italy has always been about using the entire animal.

"As opposed to thinking liver was a penalty, the liver, because there is only one, was a celebration," he explains. In his family, he says, he grew up eating odd cuts of meat: "I thought it was because we were exotic. I found out later it was because we were poor."

Just watch Colby slice into one of his gorgeous red-and-white salame, or arrange curls of the house-made prosciutto on a board. You'll want to go to Chi Spacca tonight and experience what he's making from ethically raised, heirloom breed pigs.

Chernick is quoted as saying, “What isn’t captured in the video is the wild smells. I have been enlightened by the science of a good salami, and we can thank Mario for capturing Italian culture and bringing it to us on a platter.”

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