Why Mario Batali Says Gwyneth Paltrow Is His Favorite Sous Chef
Batali and the actress have been friends for more than 18 years.
As one of our 50 Food Faves included in this week’s issue, the Chew co-host told PEOPLE that his “favorite” sous chef is the goop founder. Though she’s written two of her own cookbooks and offers plenty of wellness advice on her website, you’d think collaborating with such a beloved, professional-trained chef still might be intimidating—but Paltrow can more than hold her own.
“She’s a great cook and she’s curious,” says Batali. “But she also teaches me quite a lot. It’s a nice balance.”
Their adorable friendship goes way back, too. The pair, who have been pals for more than 18 years, have worked together hosting fancy dinners; Paltrow has made appearances on The Chew and they teamed up for the 13-part PBS series Spain…On the Road Again in 2008.
For more of our Food Faves, including Ree Drummond and all the details on her life on the ranch, pick up PEOPLE’s Food Issue, on newsstands Friday.
Batali is also one to weigh in on the actress’s dating life. “He was just teasing me about every boyfriend I brought to [Batali’s restaurant] Babbo over the years,” Paltrow revealed last year. “He liked Brad Pitt, if you want to know. Didn’t like Ben Affleck that much.”
WATCH: Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond and Her Husband Ladd Share the Secrets to Their 21-Year Marriage
Aside from Paltrow, more of Batali’s favorite things include Bucatini all’Amatriciana (get the recipe here), “American cheese grilled cheese sammies,” and his signature Lands’ End vests.
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He is especially fond of the retailer “because they write anything I want on them like ‘wheeee’ and ‘finocchio’, which is Italian for fennel—one of my favorite ingredients!” he says.