Inside Action Bronson & Mario Batali's Pizza Party

Aaron Richter
Mario Batali and Action Bronson photographed on March 4, 2016 at La Sirena in New York. 

On the occassion of his 33rd birthday, Action Bronson decided he wanted a pizza party. In years past, he’d celebrated at arcades and an ice-skating rink. “There’s a place in Long Island called Iceland. I was into hockey skating at the time,” he explained with his thick Queens accent, “I can actually do a triple Lutz. I’m what you would call ‘brute elegance,’” he laughed.

To celebrate this year, though -- a year he said he’d hoped would be “filled with health and prosperity” and would “push me to new limits” -- the hip-hop gastronome was in the kitchen at OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria explaining the two “gorgeous pizzas” he’d created alongside his hero-turned-mentor-turned-culinary-partner-in-crime, Mario Batali. As part of Batali’s OTTO O.G.s initiative, in which a friend of the chef adds two signature items to the menu, both of Bronson’s thin-crusted dishes will remain available at the West Village restaurant throughout the month of December.

 

Of the pizza with ricotta cheese, toasted hazelnuts, pickled-chili-infused honey and shaved white truffle, the Fuck, That's Delicious host said he’d "had an epiphany at home one day. I wanted something light and delicious, sweet and savory." The other pie, with its fontina, braised beef and drizzling of braising liquid on top was “heartier, more of a pizza for the cold weather." The descriptions, though, didn’t quite satisfy him, and as Bronson dug deeper in search of more poetic adjectives, his right hand became clenched into a fist. “I don’t know how to explain the depth, this is all I can do,” he resigned, lifting up his clenched hand.

“What does that fist even mean?" Batali pounced. "Is that like grabbing a horse from behind?”

“It’s like delivering a baby calf,” Bronson laughed.

The duo’s exchanges, which can at times feel like the most perfectly ridiculous Laurel & Hardy skit, weren’t contained to the kitchen on Monday night. For $45, fans could celebrate alongside the rapper and chef, who made the rounds with trays of pizza in hand and who donated $10 of every ticket to the Food Bank for New York City.

 

Yum bang #OGseries@ottopizzeria

A photo posted by Mario Batali (@mariobatali) on

 

“At a time, in the richest country of all time with the most food and the most amount of disposable cash, one in five children still goes to bed hungry every night in the United States,” Batali said to the crowd shortly after 9:30pm. “And anyone who can’t see that hunger relief is an investment, I will take you outside and spank you,” he declared sardonically. “If I can beseech you to do just one thing today it is to choose one day out of every month for the rest of your life and go do something for somebody you’ve never met before. Find a way to help someone else—it’s what distinguishes us, what makes us a great group of people.”

Returning the spotlight to the birthday boy, the room raised their glasses of vino. “Here’s to one of the most innovative and fascinating guys I’ve met in the last 20 years,” Batali said. “If you follow his music, you understand he’s slightly obsessed with food, with tattoos, with everything cultural. He has one of the most interesting points of views.”  It was a toast, in other words, to a true Sagittarius.
 
 
 
 

Thank you mommy for giving me life. December 2nd - 1983 - Queens. #fuckthatsdelicious

A photo posted by Action Bronson (@bambambaklava) on