Mario Batali, the zealous and stylish star of the Food Network, has become one of the most recognizable chefs in America. With a restaurant empire, several cookbooks, a line of food products, and appearances on television and in print too numerous to mention, it is hard to discuss current culinary trends in America without citing the name of Mario Batali.
Raised in Seattle, Mario began his professional journey studying Spanish theater at Rutgers University. After graduating, however, he turned his eye towards the culinary world.
He began to study at Le Cordon Bleu in London but quickly withdrew because of a lack of interest. He next apprenticed with the great Chef Marco Pierre White and then spent three years of intense culinary training in the small northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne.
Mario Opens His First Restaurant
Mario returned to the United States and in 1998 opened Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York City to much critical acclaim. That same year, the James Beard Foundation named Babbo “Best New Restaurant of 1998”. Ruth Reichl of the New York Times also bestowed three stars upon the new restaurant.
A Restaurant Empire Begins
Mario’s success has continued with the opening of several restaurants (all in NYC): Lupa, Esca, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, Casa Mona, Bar Jamon, Bistro du Vent, and the wine shop Italian Wine Merchants.
Perhaps Mario’s greatest success has been as a television personality. It’s hard not to like Mario’s easygoing style and genuineness. As host and star of Molto Mario, Mario Eats Italy, and Ciao America, he has turned a generation of foodies onto what real Italian food is all about. Another show, Iron Chef America, highlights Mario’s cooking skills and his entertaining style.
Award Winning Chef
Throughout his career, Mario has been given several awards including GQ’s 1999 “Man of the Year” – Chef Category, D’Artagnan Cervena Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America 2001 (the culinary world’s hall of fame), and the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef New York 2002.