Chef Bios: Mario Batali

After withdrawing from Le Cordon Bleu due to lack of interest, Batali went on to become a star

Ken Goodman
Mario Batali got his start in the New York City restaurant scene in 1993 when he opened Po with Joe Bastianich.

Iron Chef, cookbook author, TV star, restaurant mogul, what hasn’t Mario Batali done?

And to think, his first career goal was to play football. Batali, a third-generation Italian-American, was raised in a family serious about cooking. He withdrew from Le Cordon Bleu almost immediately “due to a lack of interest,” and instead served an apprenticeship at the Six Bells public house on King's Road with the now renowned chef, Marco Pierre White. After working in several restaurants in the States, Batali returned to Europe for three years to train in the Northern Italian village, Borgo Capanne.

He burst onto the New York scene as the chef of Po, which he opened in 1993 with business partner, Joe Bastianich. Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca followed, with more acclaim, three stars from The New York Times’ dining critic at the time, Frank Bruni. Batali and Bastianich have have since opened other successful restaurants in New York, California, and Las Vegas.

Batali’s television career began with Food Network in 1996 after opening Po. After his show Molto Mario, was not renewed, Batali stopped competing in the network’s popular series, Iron Chef America. He has written more than eight books including a Babbo cookbook, and his notable, Molto Gusto, which includes recipes from his New York restaurant, Otto.

In 2010, along with partners Lidia Bastianich and Oscar Farinetti, Batali opened Eataly, a 50,000-foot Italian marketplace and food court in New York’s Flatiron District, featuring five small restaurants and a rooftop alpine beer trattoria.

 

QUICK FACTS:
Culinary Style: Italian

Restaurants: B&B Ristorante, Babbo, Bar Jamon, Carnevino, Casa Mono, Del Posto, Esca, Lupa, Mozza2Go, Osteria Mozza, OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria, The Spotted Pig, Tarry Lodge, and Eataly
 

Born: 1960
 

DID YOU KNOW? Mario’s father, a retired engineer for Boeing, opened a charcuterie shop in Seattle in an attempt to recreate the Italian foods store his son’s maternal great-great grandparents opened in 1903.


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