New York City's most famous chef, Mario Batali, and Italy's most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini, are joining forces to open a meat-themed restaurant in an unlikely location; an island almost smack daube in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
After considering both Manhattan and Tuscany as sites, the two foodie superstars have finally agreed to meet roughly halfway from each other's home turf and that turns out to be Flores Island, the westernmost island of the Azores Archipelago
Tentatively entitled il Gran Palazzo di Carne, the joint venture came about after Batali and Cecchini had lunch last year at Katz's Famous Delicatessen in New York and began toying with the idea of uniting to form what one food professional called "A Temple to the Cow".
"This could be the greatest thing to happened to beef since Moses put two cows on that ark of his," said Sir Charles Dillingsworth, the United Kingdom's foremost food critic, but also a man woefully inept when it comes to ark ownership.
Neither Batali nor Cecchini would comment on the project.
However, Cecchini's wife, the American-born Kimberly Wicks, was caught off guard when asked about the apparently tight-lipped collaboration. "I can't believe you found out about it!", she said in an E-mail reply from Tuscany.
A leading travel agent in the Mid East said when she heard of the partnership of Cecchini and Batali "it was one of those It's about time" moments.
"Mario and Dario together makes total sense," said Julianne Nebuchadnezzar from "Let's Get Away Now and I Mean Right Now!!" a popular travel agency based in Fallujah, Iraq. "If one is traveling from America to Europe, or from the Middle East to America, a stopover in Flores Island not only breaks up the flight, it provides a special destination dining adventure that will rank high on anybody's fucket list."
Flores Island, with a population of about 3,900 - mostly-Portuguese -inhabitants, gets it name from the profusion of wild flowers, ( especially hydrangeas) that grow, ugh, um, wild on the island. The main municipality is Santa Cruz, where il Gran Palazzo di Carne will be located.