WATCH: Mario Batali Slams Fabio Viviani In Olive Oil Frying Debate

Like Bobby Flay, Italians, and hard core olive oil purists everywhere will tell you: olive oil is not for cooking; it’s for dressing. Because of its viscosity and smoking point, olive oil isn’t an ideal oil to heat up to the high temperatures necessary for a deep-fry. Canola oil, for example, which is much lighter, and heats up quicker, is a widely accepted frying oil option.

Mario Batali is among the few Italian chefs who reject this school of thought. He’d fry in a vat of thick, green, fresh olive oil any day. But he’s Mario Batali, so he probably won’t set his kitchen on fire while doing so. Watch him ream Fabio Vivani on the issue on today’s episode of The Chew below.

Later, Richard Blais joined his fellow Top Chef alums to whip up a molecular/carbless version of pasta carbonara, which, for The Chew’s audience base, is mighty brave. Fabio is, of course, the first one to cut him down for it. Guys. It’s JUST some agar agar noodles. Relax.

  • Jim Dixon

    Except for maybe the part about Bobby Flay, that first graf gets everything wrong. If you’re going to talk about olive oil, you first need to explain that the majority of olive oil sold in the US labeled “extra virgin” isn’t really extra virgin olive oil. Because the term isn’t regulated here, what most people, including food writers who haven’t done their reporting, call extra virgin is olive oil that’s been refined, then blended with some virgin oil to give it a little flavor. Refining involves very high temperatures, and this fake extra virgin does have a lower smoke point. But it sucks and shouldn’t really be used for anything. True extra virgin olive oils have smoke points anywhere from 385-425F, much higher than you’d heat any oil and more than enough for deep frying. Mario is right.

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