Mario Batali

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Mario Batali

Mario Batali, May 5, 2005
BornMario Francesco Batali[1]
(1960-09-19) September 19, 1960 (age 53)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Cooking styleItalian
EducationRutgers University
Le Cordon Bleu
SpouseSusi Cahn (2 children)
Official website
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Mario Batali

Mario Batali, May 5, 2005
BornMario Francesco Batali[1]
(1960-09-19) September 19, 1960 (age 53)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Cooking styleItalian
EducationRutgers University
Le Cordon Bleu
SpouseSusi Cahn (2 children)
Official website

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]

Batali was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Marilyn (née LaFramboise) and Armandino Batali.[6] His father was of Italian ancestry and his mother was of French-Canadian and English descent.[7] According to research by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (of Harvard University, in 2010 for the PBS series Faces of America), Batali's paternal 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.[8]

Batali's family moved to Yakima, Washington, shortly after his birth.[9] When Batali was about eight years old, his family moved back to Seattle when his father was hired as an engineer for Boeing. His father went on to work for Boeing for 30 years before, upon retirement, opening Salumi, a specialty cured-meats shop in Seattle.[8]

Batali moved to Spain with his family in 1975 and returned to the U.S. in 1978 to attend Rutgers University,[10] where he majored in Spanish Language, Theatre and Economics, and graduated in 1982. He attended 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. Batali 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.[citation needed]

Batali is one of the principal subjects of Bill Buford's 2006 book, Heat.

Professional career[edit]

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.[11] 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,[12] 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.[13] At 27, Batali was the highest paid young chef in the company.[14] 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 New York's Greenwich Village on Cornelia Street. 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,[15] 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, later renamed Otto), 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),[4][16] 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.[17] 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."[18] No new episodes of Molto Mario have been filmed since 2004, but the network continued airing re-runs, with reruns airing initially 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.[19] 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".[20]

Batali is featured also in the MMORPG World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: in Stormwind City there is the NPC Bario Matalli which is regarded as "Sous Chef" and features the highest-level cooking recipes available.

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.[21]

In 2009, Batali announced the creation of the Mario Batali Foundation "to educate, empower and encourage children".[22] The foundation is an event-driven fundraiser for children’s disease research, children’s hunger relief, and literacy programs.[23]

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,[24] Batali has stated, "We really don't even know each other.... I'd love to hang out with him."[25]

In 2009, Batali made his film debut in Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox.[26]

In 2010, Batali teamed with High Five Labs to create his own iPhone app called Mario Batali Cooks! The following year, Batali became a co-host of ABC-TV's daytime show The Chew.

Batali recently lost 45 pounds, hoping to shed about 80 pounds in 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."[27]

In 2012, Batali planned to open three restaurants in Hong Kong.[5]

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)."[28][29] 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."[30]

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.[31]


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.[32][33] 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.[34]

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.[34]

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.[34]

Television credits[edit]



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. Accessed 25 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Inzitari, Vanessa. "Check Out Mario Batali's Westport Restaurant". The Westport Daily Voice. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b 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. ^ Brand, Madeleine, "Taking the 'Heat' in Mario Batali's Kitchen", National Public Radio, June 5, 2006
  8. ^ a b "Faces of America: Mario Batali", PBS, Faces of America series, with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 2010.
  9. ^ 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"
  10. ^ Buford, Bill. "Taking the 'Heat' in Mario Batali's Kitchen". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  11. ^ Meoli, Daria. "Making Mario". New Jersey Monthly. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Richard (2007-08-05). "White Heat". The Times. 
  13. ^ "Mario Batali". Career Biographies. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  14. ^ Coren. "CNN Transcripts Interview with Mario Batali". CNN. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  15. ^ "List of restaurants". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  16. ^ Vanessa Inzitari, Meaghan Morelli. "Batali's Newest Restaurant Opens Tuesday". The Westport Daily Voice. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Keil, Braden (2007-09-05). "Food Net Chef Mario Flames Out". New York Post. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  18. ^ Goldman, Russell (2007-09-06). "Batali Chopped From Food Network Lineup". ABC News. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  19. ^ "Spanish Food with Gwyneth and Mario". 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  20. ^ 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."
  21. ^ "Books and Products: Vic Firth Mills". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  22. ^ Mario Batali. "Letter from Mario". 
  23. ^ Ozersky, Josh (May 1, 2009). "Super Mario To Promote Children’s Charity With Up Screening". 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ Gostin, Nicki (April 7, 2010). "Mario Batali Goes Back to Basics". 
  26. ^ Jeffrey Podolsky, Jeffrey Podolsky (November 11, 2009). ""Fantastic Mr. Fox’s" Bill Murray on Co-Star Mario Batali: "We ride motor bikes together downtown."". 
  27. ^ "Mario Batali: Weight Loss of 40 Pounds". Celebrity Diet Doctor. 20 January 2010. 
  28. ^ "Chefs for the Marcellus: Look Who's Signed On". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Chefs for the Marcellus: About Us". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  30. ^ Batali; Telepan. "Fracking vs. food: N.Y.'s choice". New York Daily News. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  31. ^ Schneier, Matthew. "The Transcendentalists". Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  32. ^ Dominic Rushe (November 10, 2011). "Mario Batali in hot water after comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin". The Guardian. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  33. ^ Philip Boroff (November 10, 2011). "Bankers Blast Batali’s Attack; Others Say ‘Leave Mario Alone!’". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  34. ^ 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. 
  35. ^ "Chef Mario Batali - Show Molto Mario - Show List A to Z - TV". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  36. ^ Food Network[dead link]
  37. ^ Chef Mario Batali - Ciao America With Mario Batali - Show List A To Z - TV - Food Network[dead link]
  38. ^ "Healthy Recipe Collections, Party Ideas, Quick & Easy Recipes". Food Network. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  39. ^ "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: New Jersey". Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  40. ^ Michelin Guide New York City 2011

External links[edit]