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The celeb chef serves up the dish on Paltrow, Jay-Z and Jennifer Aniston

By Lesley Messer
Updated October 23, 2008 02:20 PM
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Credit: Russ Einhorn/Splash News Online

Mario Batali doesn’t only costar with Gwyneth Paltrow on PBS’s Spain … A Culinary Road Trip, he also eats her food.

“[Gwyneth] is great cook!” the celebrity chef told PEOPLE at his book party (for the companion volume to the TV series) Monday at Manhattan’s Bon Appétit Supper Club and Café. “She made braised sea bass, kind of Chinese-style, with flowering chives and like, shitake mushrooms. So good!”

The Oscar winner cooks daily for her children, Apple and Moses, according to Batali, who said she provides them with “a very healthy lifestyle [that’s] very thoughtful and smart.”

When Paltrow’s not cooking for her family, it’s not uncommon for her to be cooking for pals.

Friendly Foodies

“[We’re] obsessed,” Batali said of his foodie friends, who take turns hosting dinner parties. “The last one was at Spotted Pig, there were probably about 30 people.”

Among them: Jay-Z, who, along with Batali, is an investor in the Greenwich Village gastro pub, and a longtime confidante of Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin.

“Jay a great guy,” he said. “Very soft-spoken but very smart.” And with Beyoncé?

“They’re just very friendly. They’re very together,” Batali gushed. “They’re very holding hands, and they’re very much involved in whatever group they’re with.”

Another famous fan of his food is Jennifer Aniston.

“I love her!” he exclaimed, adding that he chatted a bit with her and beau John Mayer during their recent visit to his Italian eatery Babbo. “I don’t really know John very well – he’s very quiet. But she’s a happy person, she likes to eat really good food.”