Mario Batali

Mario Batali
Mario Batali

Mario Batali, May 5, 2005
Born September 19, 1960 (1960-09-19) (age 51)
Seattle, Washington United States
Cooking style Italian
Education Rutgers University
Le Cordon Bleu
Official website

Mario Batali (born September 19, 1960) is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. In addition to his classical culinary training, he is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, including regional and local variations. Batali co-owns restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Singapore.[1] Batali's signature style includes shorts and orange Crocs.


Personal life

Batali was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Marilyn and Armandino Batali. His family moved to Yakima, Washington shortly thereafter.[2] When Batali was about 8, his family moved back to Seattle when his father got a job as an engineer for Boeing. His father worked for Boeing for thirty years, then, after retirement, opened a meat-curing shop, Salumi, in Seattle.[3]

He is of Italian ancestry on his father's side, and French Canadian ancestry on his mother's side.[3][4]

According to research done by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (of Harvard University, in 2010 for the PBS series Faces of America), his maternal great-great grandparents opened an Italian foods store in 1903. Batali's family roots are found almost entirely in the Western United States. Mario’s great-great-grandfather left Italy in 1899, going to Butte, Montana to work in the copper mines, but later moved west to settle in Seattle.[3]

Mario moved to Spain with his family in 1975 and returned to the U.S. in 1978 to attend Rutgers University,[5] where he majored in Spanish Language, Theatre and Economics, and graduated in 1982. He later went to attend Le Cordon Bleu, though he left because he found the pace too slow and felt that the best way for him to learn was in a professional kitchen. Mario currently lives in New York City with his wife Susi Cahn (of Coach Dairy Goat Farm) and two sons, Leo and Benno. He also owns homes in Northport, Michigan, and Red Hook, New York.

Batali is one of the principal subjects of Bill Buford's 2006 book, Heat. He is an advocate for same-sex marriage.[6]

In an interview, when he was asked what dish his mother made for him that he enjoyed the most, Mario stated that it was Mock Chicken Legs, which are made of ground pork and veal and then shaped around a Popsicle stick and baked. [1]

Professional career

During college Batali worked as a dishwasher at "Stuff Yer Face" restaurant in New Brunswick, New Jersey, quickly moving up to stromboli and pizza maker.[citation needed] Batali went on to serve as an assistant in the kitchens at the "Six Bells" public house in the Kings Road, Chelsea, under Marco Pierre White,[7] La Tour d'Argent in Paris, Moulin de Mougins in Provence, and the Waterside Inn, outside London. In 1985 he worked as a sous chef at the Four Seasons Clift in San Francisco before being promoted to helm the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel's La Marina restaurant in Santa Barbara.[citation needed] At twenty-seven, Batali was the highest paid young chef in the company.[citation needed] In 1989 he resigned and moved to the northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne to apprentice in the kitchen at La Volta, where he sought to master a traditional style of Italian cooking inspired by his grandmother, Leonetta Merlino.

In 1993 Batali opened "Po". In 1998, with business partner Joseph Bastianich (son of Lidia Bastianich), he went on to start "Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca". The pair have since opened seven additional restaurants,[8] Lupa (1999), Esca (2000), Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (2003), Casa Mono (2004), Bar Jamon (2004), Bistro Du Vent (2004, closed in 2006), Del Posto (2005), Enoteca San Marco (2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada), B&B Ristorante (2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada), Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, NY, CarneVino (2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada), Tarry Lodge in Westport, CT (2011), and a shop named Italian Wine Merchants (1999) which is no longer under Batali's ownership.

The New York Post reported in September 2007 that Batali’s contract with the Food Network would not be renewed, and that he would no longer be featured on its Iron Chef America series. The article further reported that although Batali had not initially been dismissed from Iron Chef America, he decided not to make any further appearances on the show after the network made the decision to cancel his cooking show, Molto Mario, which had been airing on Food Network since 1997.[9] A Food Network spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that Molto Mario would no longer be aired, but said that "Mario Batali is still part of the Food Network family. Sometimes family members go off and do other things. We completely blessed his decision to go to PBS ... He is still going to appear on Iron Chef America."[10] No new episodes of Molto Mario have been filmed since 2004, but the network continued airing re-runs, with reruns currently airing first on Fine Living and currently on Fine Living's replacement channel Cooking. Batali was absent on the season finalé of The Next Iron Chef, but he appeared twice during Iron Chef America's 2008 season, and his likeness has been licensed to appear in the Nintendo game Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine. As of episodes airing in 2010, Batali's name and likeness do not appear in the show's opening credits.

Batali is featured in PBS’s show Spain... on the road Again with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman (of The New York Times) and Claudia Bassols (a Spanish actress) featuring Spanish cuisine. The 13-episode series was filmed from October 2007 into early 2008.[11] This will be the first of a series of shows that will be developed for PBS over the next several years. Batali is also in negotiations with Travel Channel to develop a series on Italian cuisine and culture with Anthony Bourdain that reportedly will be an "exhaustive, definitive Italy series with the kind of production values that Planet Earth had".[12]

Batali teamed up with premium drum stick producer Vic Firth to create custom kitchen tools. Together they designed a line of wooden rolling pins, pepper grinders and salt grinders.[13]

In 2009, Batali announced the creation of the Mario Batali Foundation "to educate, empower and encourage children".[14] The foundation is an event-driven fundraiser for children’s disease research, children’s hunger relief, and literacy programs.[15]

Batali has been critical of fellow international chef Gordon Ramsay, calling his cooking styles dated and boring. Although the New York Post reported, in 2009, of a feud between Ramsay and Batali,[16] Batali has stated, "We really don't even know each other.... I'd love to hang out with him."[17]

In 2009 Batali made his film debut in Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox.[18]

Batali recently lost 45 pounds, hoping to shed about 80 pounds total. Batali said he decided to lose weight after he saw a picture of himself. He counts on light exercise and portion control to lose the weight. Batali said, "It’s really about calorie intake and calorie outtake. You just have to eat enough to get you to the next meal."[19]

Mario is featured also in the MMORPG World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: in Stormwind City there is the NPC Bario Matalli (almost Mario Batali with the initial letters swapped) which is regarded as "Sous Chef" and feature the highest-level cooking recipes available.

Television credits


  • Babbo, Michelin Guide One Star[25]
  • Three Stars from The New York Times for "Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca"
  • "Best New Restaurant of 1998" from the James Beard Foundation for "Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca"
  • "Man of the Year" in GQ's chef category in 1999
  • D'Artagnan Cervena Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2001
  • "Best Chef: New York City" from the James Beard Foundation in 2002
  • "All-Clad Cookware Outstanding Chef Award" from the James Beard Foundation in 2005 (national award)
  • "Best Restaurateur" from the James Beard Foundation in 2008


Social activism

Mario is on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides a daily meal to students of township schools in Soweto of South Africa.


While attending an event for Time, Batali stated "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." Following Batali's comments, users of Bloomberg's DINE function posted criticism of Batali, and called for a boycott of Batali's restaurant. Batali later apologized, stating "It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history."[26][27]

See also

  • List of celebrities who own wineries and vineyards


  1. ^ "Restaurants". Mario Batali. Accessed 25 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Yakima Herald Republic, Sunday, April 2, 2006. "Mario Batali: From his mother's Yakima kitchen to his New York restaurants, 'Molto Mario' has always been about food"
  3. ^ a b c "Faces of America: Mario Batali", PBS, Faces of America series, with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 2010.
  4. ^ Brand, Madeleine, "Taking the 'Heat' in Mario Batali's Kitchen", National Public Radio, June 5, 2006
  5. ^ Buford, Bill. "Taking the 'Heat' in Mario Batali's Kitchen". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Mario Batali for HRC's New Yorkers for Marriage Equality". Mario Batali for HRC's New Yorkers for Marriage Equality. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Richard (2007-08-05). "White Heat". The Times. 
  8. ^ "List of restaurants". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  9. ^ Keil, Braden (2007-09-05). "Food Net Chef Mario Flames Out". New York Post. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  10. ^ Goldman, Russell (2007-09-06). "Batali Chopped From Food Network Lineup". ABC News. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  11. ^ Spanish Food with Gwyneth and Mario (
  12. ^ Bourdain, Anthony (2007-12-13). Tony Bourdain Would Pimp for Prada: The No Reservations star talks candidly. Interview with Louisa Chu. Retrieved 2007-12-27. "I hope this Mario [Batali] thing really goes through [for Travel Channel]. It looks like it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be the greatest thing on television ever. It will be an exhaustive, definitive Italy series with the kind of production values that Planet Earth had. It will let Mario be the fucking genius that we know he is: able to talk about everything from Renaissance architecture to rock-and-roll b-sides to food, geography, everything. It will just unleash him.". 
  13. ^ "Books and Products: Vic Firth Mills". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  14. ^ Mario Batali. "Letter from Mario". 
  15. ^ Ozersky, Josh (May 1, 2009). "Super Mario To Promote Children’s Charity With Up Screening". 
  16. ^ Posted: 1:44 AM, January 27, 2009 (2009-01-27). ""Hell'S Kitchen " Star Gordon Ramsay From Eating At Mario Batali'S Restaurants". Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  17. ^ Gostin, Nicki (April 7, 2010). "Mario Batali Goes Back to Basics". 
  18. ^ Jeffrey Podolsky, Jeffrey Podolsky (November 11, 2009). ""Fantastic Mr. Fox’s" Bill Murray on Co-Star Mario Batali: "We ride motor bikes together downtown."". 
  19. ^ "Mario Batali: Weight Loss of 40 Pounds". Celebrity Diet Doctor. 20 January 2010. 
  20. ^ "Chef Mario Batali - Show Molto Mario - Show List A to Z - TV". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  21. ^ Food Network[dead link]
  22. ^ Chef Mario Batali - Ciao America With Mario Batali - Show List A To Z - TV - Food Network[dead link]
  23. ^ "Healthy Recipe Collections, Party Ideas, Quick & Easy Recipes". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  24. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: New Jersey".;ep_title;2. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  25. ^ Michelin Guide New York City 2011
  26. ^ Dominic Rushe (November 10, 2011). "Mario Batali in hot water after comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin". The Guardian. Retrieved November 11 2011. 
  27. ^ Philip Boroff (November 10, 2011). "Bankers Blast Batali’s Attack; Others Say ‘Leave Mario Alone!’". Retrieved November 11 2011. 

External links

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