Mario Batali Dishes on Celebrities in New Online Series

02/03/2014 at 12:52 PM ET

Gwyneth Paltrow Mario Batali
Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty

The Chew‘s Mario Batali has something new on the menu: an online celebrity-interview series on Medium, a new public forum to share ideas and stories.

The twice-monthly “The Batali Inquisition” features the orange-Croc-loving chef lobbing food and lifestyle questions at celebs, who open up with honest, personal replies.

One of his first interviews: pal Gwyneth Paltrow, his onetime costar on PBS cooking show Spain: On the Road Again.

When Batali asked the notoriously strict eater to describe her perfect meal, the actress told him, “Fried clams, a wedge of blue cheese, oysters, and a lobster roll and french fries with my family and best friends in Amagansett, New York.” In food terms, she described herself as “a dozen Kumamoto oysters with very spicy cocktail sauce.”

The actress and fellow cookbook author also admitted she identifies with Katharine Hepburn because “she did things very much her own way.”

Batali’s first guest, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, also tossed out some revealing bits, like referring to himself as “a really good furniture wiper and a relentless housekeeper.” We can’t wait to see who’s up next.

—Nancy Mattia

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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