I recently read through an email I received from the Meatless Mondays campaign people that Mario Batali now joins the Meatless Mondays movement by offering at least 2 vegetarian options in all his 14 restaurants across the US every Monday.
This is the quote straight from the press release:
“The fact is, most people in the U.S. eat way more meat than is good for them or the planet,” maintains Batali. “Asking everyone to go vegetarian or vegan isn’t a realistic or attainable goal. But we can focus on a more plant-based diet, and support the farmers who raise their animals humanely and sustainably. That’s why I’m such a big believer in the Meatless Monday movement.”
“Every Monday, there will be at least 2 vegetarian dishes served, such as pasta or pizza.”
Photo from www.mariobatali.com
Initially sounds like a great idea and initiative… no? Hey, big chef Mario Batali is making this big statement. However, when you think about it in detail… is it really???
I don’t think so!!!!!
I like the exposure the Meatless Monday is getting by associating with Mario Batali. And in all honesty, I like Mario Batali’s TV shows, his recipes and hey, I have eaten at several of his restaurants already… However, committing to have at least 2 options in a menu, which on average has between 60 and 70 items to choose from, represents a mere 3% out of the total menu options without counting desserts. Not a big change or statement in my opinion.
To me, ANY successful restaurant that wants to cater to a wide audience should AT LEAST have 2-3 vegetarian/meatless options EVERY DAY!!! Not just on Mondays… I know I like to eat out any day of the week. I am sure all other vegetarians also feel this way… And please notice I say vegetarian-suitable options, not just meatless… because the vegetable soup made with chicken stock or the pasta made with pancetta drippings or veal stock does not count and does not qualify to be on the Meatless Mondays list, in my humble opinion.
Now, if Mario would have said ALL 14 restaurants, or maybe even just some of them, ONLY OFFER vegetarian/meatless dishes all-day Monday, every Monday, now that’s an initiative truly embracing the Meatless Monday’s concept. Eradicating meat dishes from all restaurants on Mondays would demonstrate his true commitment and would make a real statement and impact on the environment and on public opinion. But just 2 dishes on each menu????? Give me a break…
And why does Meatless Mondays agree to this?? Just to ride on the curtails of Mario Batali’s fame and media-draw??
“We’re delighted that Maestro Mario is helping to move the movement,” declares Sid Lerner, founder and chairman of Meatless Monday, an initiative of The Monday Campaigns. “If anybody can entice meat lovers to enjoy their veggies as well, it’s Batali!”
Because if I were Sid Lerner, I would try to work my charm to convince Mario to go big or go home. I think the statement above is just using Batali’s fame to promote the movement. And not lobbying to get Mario and his restaurants to do more is just wimpy in my opinion.
And a question I would like to pose Mario himself… Do you embrace Meatless Monday in your personal daily diet?? Do you cook meatless dishes every Monday at home? Do you teach your children that meat-products are not necessary in a healthy daily diet and that they’ll start with Meatless Mondays??
Now that’s something inquiring minds like me want to know… Please feel free to share your comments about this news here. I will make sure the Meatless Monday people get the message from me and you.
Thanks in advance.