Mario Batali, Food network star, signing copies of Molto Gusto
- 7/16/10 7:00 PM at Dark Delicacies – West Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA.
- 7/17/10 2:00 PM at Borders Books – Crossings Circle. Traverse City, MI.
Mario Batali (born September 9, 1960) is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. If for some reason you are unable to attend his book signings, you can still order a signed book by Mario. Click on the link below:
Batali was born in Yakima, Washington, the son of Marilyn and Armandino Batali, owner of Salumi in Seattle. His father was an engineer for Boeing for thirty years, but after retirement, opened a meat-curing shop in Seattle.
He is of Italian ancestry on his father’s side, and English and French Canadian ancestry on his mother’s side.
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 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 coal mines, but later moved west to settle in Seattle.
Mario moved to Spain with his family in 1975 and returned to the U.S. in 1978 to attend Rutgers University. There, he double majored in Spanish Language, Theatre and Economics, graduating in 1982. He later went to attend Le Cordon Bleu, though he left both because he found the pace too slow and 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 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.
During college, Batali worked as a dishwasher at “Stuff Yer Face” restaurant in New Brunswick, New Jersey, quickly moving up to pizzaman. 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, 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. At twenty-seven, Batali was the highest paid young chef in the company. 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, 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), CarneVino (2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada) 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. 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.” No new episodes of Molto Mario have been filmed since 2004, but the network continued airing re-runs over the ensuing three years (with reruns currently airing on Fine Living). 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. 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”.
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.
In 2009, Batali announced the creation of the Mario Batali Foundation “to educate, empower and encourage children”. The foundation is an event-driven fundraiser for children’s disease research, children’s hunger relief, and literacy programs.
Batali has been critical of fellow international chef Gordon Ramsay , calling his cooking styles dated and boring. Resultably, there has been a subsequet feud involving Ramsay being banned entry from any of Batali’s restaurants.
In 2009, Batali made his film debut in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.