The man behind the Mario Batali brand offers key piece of advice for up-and-coming chefs
About Mario Batali
Critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur, award-winning author, and television personality, Mario Batali is one of the most recognized and respected chefs in America today. With his business partner Joe Bastianich, Mario has created an uber- successful restaurant and culinary empire in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore.
Mario and Joe's flagship is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an award-winning Greenwich Village restaurant, where Mario has seamlessly combined traditional Italian principles with intelligent culinary adventure since the restaurant opened in June 1998. A superstar from its inception, Babbo was honored as "Best New Restaurant of 1998" by The James Beard Foundation in its inaugural year.
In 2004, Frank Bruni re-reviewed the restaurant maintaining Babbo's three-star status and its standing among New York City's finest restaurants. Mario is also the chef/owner of a number of New York City's favorite eateries. Lupa Osteria Romana, a Roman-style trattoria, opened in 1999. A year later, in April 2000, he and chef/partner Dave Pasternack opened Esca, a Southern Italian seafood trattoria in the Theater District. In January 2003, Mario and Joe opened another downtown eatery - Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, located around the corner from historic Washington Square Park. In December 2003, Mario and Joe opened two restaurants adjacent to Gramercy Park: Casa Mono, a Spanish-style taverna, and Bar Jamón, a bustling tapas bar. In December 2005, Mario, Joe, Lidia Bastianich and Mark Ladner opened Del Posto. This spacious restaurant in New York City's meatpacking district features modern Italian cooking in a luxurious and comfortable setting. In October of 2010, Sam Sifton of the New York Times gave Del Posto a four- star review, making it the first Italian restaurant in 36 years to receive this incredible honor.
Mario and Joe's first west coast ventures, in partnership with Nancy Silverton, are Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. Sharing the corner of Highland and Melrose Avenues, Osteria Mozza features a center island mozzarella bar, where fresh mozzarella is made all day, every day. Just last year, the team in California added a take-out location called Mozza2Go as well as Scuola di Pizza, Mozza's new intimate event and classroom space.
In 2007, Mario and Joe journeyed to Las Vegas to open B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino. A year later, in January 2008, they opened Carnevino Italian Steakhouse in the Palazzo Hotel, adjacent to the Venetian.
For their first suburban venture, Mario and Joe traveled just outside Manhattan to Westchester County. The two chose Port Chester, NY as the site of a new authentic trattoria, Tarry Lodge, as well as Tarry Market and Tarry Wine Merchants which opened this fall.
For Mario's first overseas venture, he opened Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in the Marina Bay Sands Resort Casino in exotic and beautiful Singapore. Mario and Joe's latest undertaking is Eataly, a 50,000 square foot Italian marketplace they built with partners Lidia Bastianich and Oscar Farinetti. Located at 200 Fifth Avenue in New York City, Eataly is the city's ultimate destination for food lovers to shop, taste and savor the seasonal and authentic foods of Italy. In June, Eataly's much-anticipated Birreria opened to long lines and rave reviews. At this beer-centric restaurant on the roof of 200 Fifth Avenue, Eataly partnered with Dogfish Head Brewery's founder, Sam Calagione, as well as two Italian brewmasters, Teo Musso of Birra Baladin in Turin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo in Rome. In the summer of 2011, Mario and Joe opened two new outposts of their tried and true eateries. In July 2011, Tarry Lodge opened in Westport, Connecticut. A few months later, they opened Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach.
He took his first bite of culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, but he withdrew almost immediately due to a "lack of interest." An apprenticeship with London's legendary chef Marco Pierre White and three years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne (population 200) gave Mario the essential skills and knowledge to return to his native U.S.
Mario has authored nine cookbooks to date: Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter, 1998); Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter, 2000); The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002); Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes (Ecco, 2005); Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style (The Sporting News 2006); Mario Batali - Italian Grilling (Ecco, 2008); and Spain...A Culinary Road Trip (Ecco 2008), a companion cookbook to the PBS prime time series, "Spain...On the Road Again," that Mario co-authored with Gwyneth Paltrow. In the spring of 2010, Mario's eighth cookbook hit the shelves. Molto Gusto (Ecco 2010), based on the classic and celebrated dishes of Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, showcases what the world loves best about Italian food – pizza and pasta! In October 2011, Mario released a collection of family recipes titled Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals From My Home to Yours (Ecco 2011).
Mario has hosted a number of TV shows for The Food Network including Ciao America, Molto Mario and Iron Chef America. In Fall 2008, Mario starred in a PBS series alongside Mark Bittman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols. Spain...On the Road Again followed the foursome's adventures as they traveled and ate their way through Spain. Mario is also a frequent guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show, MARTHA and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He recently appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Charlie Rose.
In 2008, Mario founded the Mario Batali Foundation with the mission of feeding, protecting educating and empowering children.