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Zingerman’s co-founder Paul Saginaw to Interview Mario Batali at National Writers Series dinner

NATIONAL WRITERS SERIES TO HOST FOOD NETWORK STAR MARIO BATALI AT OUTDOOR DINNER CELEBRATION AUGUST 14

Traverse City, Mich. – July 22, 2010 – The Traverse City National Writers Series will host Food Network star and award-winning chef Mario Batali on the Historic Front Lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons on August 14 for a spectacular outdoor celebration of food, chefs and restaurants, beer and wine, music and the local culinary culture.

Batali, the zealous and stylish star of Food Network programs including Molto Mario and Ciao America, has become one of the most recognizable chefs in America. With a restaurant empire, several cookbooks, a line of food products, and ubiquitous appearances on television and in print, it is hard to discuss current culinary trends in the U.S. without citing the name of Mario Batali.

The author has published acclaimed cookbooks including “Simple Italian Food,” “Mario Batali Holiday Food,” “The Babbo Cookbook” and “Molto Italiano – 327 Simple Italian Recipes.” Batali was named Man of the Year in the chef category by GQ magazine in 1999, won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: New York City award in 2002 and was award Outstanding Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2005. The famous orange-clogged chef splits his time with his family between New York City (where he owns and operates several Italian hotspots) and Michigan.

On August 14, Batali returns to his beloved summer community in Northern Michigan to participate in “An Evening with Mario Batali,” scheduled for 5-10 p.m. The event will feature dishes inspired by recipes in Batali’s cookbooks and prepared by chefs representing The Cook’s House and Epicure Catering, as well as world-famous mixologist Bridget Albert (who will create a signature Traverse City cocktail exclusively for the event), renowned magician and MC Billy Harris (of “Magic, Martinis and Mario” fame), and a live interview and interactive audience Q&A with Batali. The evening will close with music and dancing.

Guest host Paul Saginaw, co-owner and founding partner of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, will interview Batali on stage at the event and facilitate the audience Q&A. Called “the coolest small company in America” by Inc. magazine, Zingerman’s expanded from a single deli started by Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in 1982 to a multi-business conglomerate centered on a unique operational model of strong commitment to community, great food and service, and a passion for entrepreneurship and people.

Tickets for “An Evening with Mario Batali” go on sale Friday, July 9 online at www.nationalwritersseries.org and www.porterhouseproductions.com. Tickets range from $35-$100 and include two full plates of Batali food entrees (10 recipes total), cash bar, gelato station, live entertainment, an interactive audience Q&A with Batali and access to all event activities. Signed copies of Batali’s cookbooks will be available for purchase at the event.

Net proceeds from TCNWS events, including “An Evening with Mario Batali,” support the National Writers Series and its scholarship fund, which benefits college-bound writing and arts students attending Grand Traverse regional schools. Scholarship winners will have their works published in the Midwest’s best literary review, The Dunes Review, and receive their awards at a special multi-day gala reading event, also featuring nationally prominent writers. The program is currently accepting scholarship applications from junior and senior high school students through July 28.

The National Writers Series, founded by New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, Traverse City attorney Grant Parsons and Northern Express writer Anne Stanton, is a year-round book festival in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. The Series is dedicated to bringing to life great conversations with America’s most celebrated writers. Past guests include legendary news anchor Tom Brokaw (“The Greatest Generation”), NYT best-selling author Mary Karr (“Lit”) and acclaimed memoirist Rhoda Janzen (“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress”).

For more information, visit www.nationalwritersseries.org.