People Staff
June 11, 2004 06:00 AM

When Ocean’s 12 was filming in Chicago recently, producers asked local Italian eatery Spiaggia to prepare some of its visually stunning – and tasty – dishes for a scene in which George Clooney cooks for Julia Roberts at his character’s upscale abode. One of the restaurant’s chefs, Efrain Medrano, arrived on set, ingredients and cookware in hand, to make such dishes as a Caprese salad and pasta Bolognese, and taught Clooney how to prepare the meal. “He was very good,” says Medrano. “He knew exactly what to do.” (Seems George has learned a thing or two about Italian food from hanging out in his 15-bedroom villa on Italy’s Lake Como…) The only request about the meal? No onions, as Roberts doesn’t eat them. When the cast and crew broke for lunch, the group, which also included Andy Garcia, asked Medrano to stay and cook for them, which he did.

Birthday Girls… Er, Women
To all those fans out there who have been counting down the days, it’s almost here: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s 18th birthday arrives June 13. They plan to celebrate by flying a few pals down to Mexico for some serious R&R, a source close to the power duo tells us. After promoting New York Minute throughout the spring, missing their senior prom to host Saturday Night Live and graduating from Campbell Hall high school in North Hollywood last week, we suppose they deserve some rest – and maybe a margarita (it’s legal in Mexico).

All About ME
No matter which persona she’s had over the years, Madonna has always thrown a dash of ironic humor into everything she does – even Kabbalah. First, there was the “Kabbalists Do It Better” T-shirt, and now it’s her jewelry. Her Madgesty lately has been sporting two oversized diamond and platinum rings with the initials “M” and “E” – “M” for “Madonna” and “E” for her Kabbalah name, “Esther.” The pieces, designed by Neil Lane, are meant to be worn together to spell “ME.” Get it?

Free Association
Justina Machado (Vanessa on HBO’s Six Feet Under, premiering Sunday) shares her quick takes on a few hot topics:
South Beach Diet: “Bull”
Gambling: “Stupid”
Summer Olympics in Athens: “Beautiful”
2012 Olympics in New York City: “Craaaazy”
2004 Presidential Race: “Oh God, please let somebody else win.”
Martha Stewart’s show on hiatus: “Never watched it”
Fear Factor: “Fun”
How much would they have to pay you to go on the show? “I think I would do it for the 50 grand. It looks like a fun show, as long as it’s not too gross.”
How much would they have to pay you to eat a bug? “Oh my God, I’m easy, they could buy me to eat a bug.”

Caught in the Act
Spotted recently:
Ben Affleck and his new girl, TV ad-sales exec Enza Sambataro, eating dinner at the Union Street Restaurant outside Boston. Ben ordered a fried chicken sandwich with honey mustard and cheese.

Adrien Brody, having dinner with Fawaz Gruosi, president of the high-end watchmaker de Grisogono, at Mister Chow in Los Angeles.

Kristin Davis, hosting “Style in the City,” a preview of Weatherproof Garment Company’s spring collection, at the Bryant Park Hotel in New York City. Apprentice alum Nick Warnock stopped in to chat and checked out the models wearing Weatherproof’s “Baby Trench,” high heels, and not much else. Andy Dick was also spotted in the lobby, requesting more towels.


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