Mario Batali

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Mario Batali
Mario Batali, 2005.jpg
Mario Batali, May 5, 2005
Born Mario Francesco Batali[1]
(1960-09-19) September 19, 1960 (age 54)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Education Rutgers University
Le Cordon Bleu
Spouse(s) Susi Cahn (2 children)
Culinary career
Cooking style Italian

Mario Francesco Batali (born September 19, 1960)[2] 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, Singapore, Hong Kong[3] and Westport, Connecticut.[4] Batali's signature clothing style includes shorts and orange Crocs.[5] He is also known as "Molto Mario".

Family background and personal life[edit]

Mario was raised in Seattle, Washington by Marilyn Batali and Armando Batali,.[6] who worked for Boeing most of Mario’s childhood. He spent his high school years studying in Madrid, Spain before attending Rutgers University for Spanish Theater and Business Management. During his college years he worked for a pizzeria called Stuff Yer Face. After graduating, he attended Le Cordon Bleu in London for a few short months before taking an apprenticeship with revered Chef Marco Pierre White in Borgo Capanne, a small northern Italian village. Over the next three years he underwent a culinary transformation that prepared him to leap into New York’s Italian cuisine with his own unique signature.

Currently, Mario is living in Greenwich Village with his wife Susi Cahn, of Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and his two sons Leo and Benno.

Professional Career[edit]

At 27, Mario was the head chef at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore after working as a sous chef for Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco.[7] In the early 1990’s Mario began working at the Italian restaurant Rocco’s before opening Po in New York City in 1993 with incredible success. The New York buzz for his restaurants translated into the Food Network show "Molto Mario" [8] which aired from 1996 to 2004 where Mario’s career took off.

Mario teamed up with Joe Batianich to form B&B Hospitality Group. Together they opened Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York City which quickly gained the coveted three stars award from the New York Times, the first Italian restaurant to do so in 40 years. Together they opened seven more restaurants in New York: Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, Otto, Del Posto, and Eataly (an Italian marketplace). In 2010, Del Posto received a four-star review from the New York Times. It is one of only six restaurants in New York with the award. Their culinary empire has expanded to 10 restaurants in New York, 4 restaurants in Las Vegas, 2 restaurants in Los Angeles, 2 restaurants in Singapore, 1 Italian market in Chicago, and 2 restaurants in Hong Kong.

Social activism[edit]

Batali is a critic of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, an energy-intensive method of natural gas extraction. He has signed onto the cause of Chefs for the Marcellus, whose mission is to "protect [New York's] regional foodshed from the dangers of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas (fracking)."[9][10] In May 2013, Batali co-wrote an opinion article with chef Bill Telepan for the New York Daily News, in which the two wrote that "Fracking ... could do serious damage to [New York's] agricultural industry and hurt businesses, like ours, that rely on safe, healthy, locally sourced foods."[11]

Batali 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. He supports the practice of Transcendental Meditation through the David Lynch Foundation.[12]


Statement on bankers[edit]

While attending an event for Time on November 8, 2011, 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.[13][14] Batali later stated through Twitter: "To remove any ambiguity about my appearance at yesterday's Time Person of the Year panel, I want to apologize for my remarks. It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history."

Tip skimming at restaurants[edit]

In March 2012, Batali and his business partners agreed to pay $5.25 million restitution in order to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2010 by former employees. The lawsuit against Mr. Batali, filed in 2010, said that he and a partner, Joseph Bastianich, and their restaurants had a policy of deducting an amount equivalent to 4 to 5 percent of total wine sales at the end of each night from the tip pool and keeping the money.[15]

One bartender was told that “it was a policy across the Batali restaurant group” and that the money “went to the house,” a judge, Richard J. Holwell, wrote in a ruling in May 2011. At Tarry Lodge, in Port Chester, N.Y., a spreadsheet divided a night’s tips among waiters and documented a 4 percent deduction, Judge Holwell noted. At one staff meeting, an executive “refused to justify the policy and said it was not going to change,” the judge wrote.[15]

Employees were told the money was to cover expenses related to wine research and to cover broken glassware, the judge added. He made no findings on the merits of the case.

Other Batali restaurants named in the suit included Babbo, Del Posto, Casa Mono, Bar Jamón, Esca, Lupa and Otto, all in Manhattan.[15]

Television credits[edit]


  • Babbo, Michelin Guide, One Star[21]
  • 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
  • Culinary Hall of Fame Induction.[22]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Batali, Mario". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 54–57. ISBN 9780824211219. 
  3. ^ "Restaurants". Mario Batali. Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Inzitari, Vanessa. "Check Out Mario Batali's Westport Restaurant". The Westport Daily Voice. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Mario Batali: Hello, Hong Kong! China, here we come CNNGo. By Zoe Li. 13 April 2012.
  6. ^ Roger Downey (2002-12-25). "A Batali Family Christmas - Page 1 - Food - Seattle". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  7. ^ Coren. "CNN Transcripts Interview with Mario Batali". CNN. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  8. ^ Keil, Braden (2007-09-05). "Food Net Chef Mario Flames Out". New York Post. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  9. ^ "Chefs for the Marcellus: Look Who's Signed On". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Chefs for the Marcellus: About Us". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Batali; Telepan. "Fracking vs. food: N.Y.'s choice". New York Daily News. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Schneier, Matthew. "The Transcendentalists". Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Dominic Rushe (November 10, 2011). "Mario Batali in hot water after comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin". The Guardian. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ Philip Boroff (November 10, 2011). "Bankers Blast Batali’s Attack; Others Say ‘Leave Mario Alone!’". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c Weiser, Benjamin (2012-03-07). "Mario Batali Agrees to $5.25 Million Settlement Over Employee Tips -". Manhattan (NYC): Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Chef Mario Batali - Show Molto Mario - Show List A to Z - TV". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  17. ^ Food Network[dead link]
  18. ^ Chef Mario Batali - Ciao America With Mario Batali - Show List A To Z - TV - Food Network[dead link]
  19. ^ "Healthy Recipe Collections, Party Ideas, Quick & Easy Recipes". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  20. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: New Jersey". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  21. ^ Michelin Guide New York City 2011
  22. ^ Culinary Hall of Fame Induction

External links[edit]