Professional Chef Spotlight - Mario Batali

Mario Batali: Italian Scallion

May 19th, 2011

Mario Batali strives to share "his passion for the authentic sprit of Italian cooking with everyone," and his spectacular culinary arts career reflects that passion.

How Did Mario Batali Start His Culinary Career?

Growing up in a family that loved to cook, Mario's love affair with the culinary arts began early. He grew up in Spain, graduated from Rutgers, briefly sampled the culinary arts life at Le Cordon Bleu, and then opted for a 'hands on' apprenticeship with London's legendary chef Marco Pierre White. Mario spent three intense culinary arts years learning Italian cuisine in Northern Italy before eventually starting his career in NYC, where he launched his first restaurant, Po, in 1993.

In 1998, Mario opened the highly successful and multi-award-winning Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in Greenwich Village. So successful was Babbo that Mario opened seven additional restaurants in NYC:

  • Lupa Osteria Romana: family style Italian from the freshest foods of the day
  • Esca: locally caught seafood in an elegant setting
  • Otto Enoteca Pizzeria: classic Italian pizza
  • Casa Mono: tapas and wine in the taverna
  • Bar Jamon: a tapas bar
  • Bistro du Vent: southern French cuisine from the countryside
  • Del Posto: Italian haute-cuisine extravagantly presented

Mario is also part owner of the Italian Wine Merchants, a high end wine store for collectors.

Why is Mario Batali Famous?

In addition to his ever-present shorts, red ponytail, and orange clogs, Mario Batali is synonymous with Italian food. Named in 2005 by as one of the top ten most influential chefs in America, Mario is a Food Network favorite, hosting Molto Mario and Mario Eats Italy; authoring five cookbooks in his spare time.

Mario Batali's Next Culinary Career Steps

Serving rustic Italian food, Mario's LA restaurant Del Latte will open in 2006, and the launch of two new restaurants in Las Vegas will expand his $65 million empire. Mario continues to endorse his line of kitchenware, as well as a gourmet food line. You should also look for Mario to compete on this season's Iron Chef America.

Name: Mario Francesco Batali
Born: September 9, 1960
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Training: Briefly attended Le Cordon Bleu London
First Job: Dishwasher at Stuff Yer Face in NJ
Famous Quote: Concerning profits--"KFC: ker-f***ing-ching."


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