Anyone who has ever been to Babbo or Casa Mono will agree: Mario Batali can cook. He cannot, however, count public speaking among his talents.

The partner behind Italian grub shrine Eataly has came under criticism for his recent remarks he made at a Time magazine event, where the chef shared some controversial opinions. "I would have to say that who has had the largest effect on the whole planet without us really paying attention is the entire banking industry, and their disregard for the people that they're supposed to be working for," said the best-selling author. 

He went on to say:"The way the bankers have toppled the way money is distributed -- and taken most of it into their own hands -- is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys."

Wall Street's reaction was swift and deliberate. Bankers launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #bataligate, as well as spreading the word about Batali's insensitive comments, while urging them to boycott Batali's 16 NYC dining establishment and cancel any existing reservations.

Not surprisingly, Batali quickly retracted his statements via his Twitter account, tweeting "To remove any ambiguity about my appearance at yesterday's Time Person of the Year panel, I want to apologise for my remarks".  

Likely, the damage control maneuver was pulled not out of sincere remorse for his comments, but with regard for the profits of his culinary empire, a smart PR move that succeeded in placating the bankers he offended.

[via THR]