Being Mario Batali's Sous-Chef Was No Picnic

Toast and Roast

How could I resist this invitation (right), which gave no hint of what was to come yesterday around lunchtime?

Mario Batali serving roast pig, which, from a previous appearance at his house in northern Michigan, I knew I would enjoy immensely. Dave Pasternack from New York City's Esca roasting and grilling octopus, which I knew from co-writing his about-to-come-out cookbook, was just about the most delicious tentacled morsel of food you could eat. And the hospitality of Batali partner Joe Bastianich, who apparently lives large on a few acres of prime real estate in suburban Connecticut.

The first mistake I made was emailing Mario to see if he was really leaving Del Posto at 10 in the morning to go to the party. I had previously e-mailed him asking if I could get a ride to the event.

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