From left, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claudia Bassols, Mario Batali, and Mark Bittman star at their own TV party.
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't giving many interviews at the launch party for her PBS food-centric travel show Spain…On the Road Again last night at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, but the actress still stole everyone's thunder. Spanish actress Claudia Bassols — one of the two "babes" on the show, according to Batali — waited patiently for reporters to notice her while Paltrow did an interview with a Spanish TV station in a perfect Castilian accent. (Paltrow did an exchange program in Spain during high school and told the crowd, "My heart is there.") As trays of chilled almond and garlic soup, grilled shrimp and octopus skewers and spinach and cheese fritters circulated around an upstairs room, we spotted Paltrow in the corner, giggling with Bono and ignoring the creepy crush of people snapping digital photos of her.
Negotiations are in progress for another road trip, possibly to Italy, and the entire cast wants to come back for new round of driving around in convertibles, overeating and drinking. "The problem with Italy is that you have to do a lot of original research," Batali said. "We're going to have to find a way to cover it that won't make it look like the Food Network truck just left. Or Tyler Florence or Lydia Bastianich just blew through." Considering Michael Stipe made a surprise appearance this season, what famous face will hitch a ride next season? "You'd be surprised," Batali laughed. "Everyone is looking for an alternative career outside of Hollywood right now. Every one of my friends wants to be on the show."
Related: Mario Batali: Living Large [NYM]