Critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur, award-winning author, and television personality, Mario Batali is arguably one of the most recognized and respected chefs working in America today. Together with his business partner Joe Bastianich, the duo have created an uber- successful restaurant and culinary empire in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore.
Mario and Joe’s flagship restaurant is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an award-winning Greenwich Village dining establishment, where Mario has seamlessly combined traditional Italian principles with intelligent culinary adventure since it opened in June 1998. A gastronomic superstar from its inception, Babbo was honored as “The Best New Restaurant of 1998” by The James Beard Foundation, and Ruth Reichl at the New York Times hailed it with three stars. Six years later, a re-review by Frank Bruni maintained Babbo’s three-star status and its excellence among New York City’s finest restaurants.
Raised in Seattle, Mario studied the golden age of Spanish theater at Rutgers University. Soon after graduating, he took his first bite of culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, from which he withdrew almost immediately due to a “lack of interest.” An apprenticeship with London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White and three years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne (population 200) gave him the essential skills and knowledge to return to his native U.S., eager to plant his orange-clogged foot firmly on the behinds of the checkered-tablecloth Italian restaurant establishment.
Mario has authored Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter, 1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter, 2000); The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002); and Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes (Ecco, 2005); Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style (The Sporting News 2006); Mario Batali – Italian Grilling (Ecco, 2008); and Spain…A Culinary Road Trip (Ecco 2008) which was co-authored by Gwyneth Paltrow and a companion cookbook to the PBS prime time series, “Spain…On the Road Again”. In the spring of 2010, Mario’s eighth cookbook hit the shelves. Molto Gusto (Ecco 2010), based on the classic and celebrated dishes of Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, showcases what the world loves best about Italian food – pizza and pasta! With over 100 recipes that cover antipasti, pizza, pasta and gelati, Molto Gusto is the definitive, must-have cookbook that brings the best-loved Italian recipes to your kitchen.
Mario Batali’s latest adventure debutes on Monday September 26th on the new ABC daytime program The Chew.
In honor of MCCN’s Anniversary Mario Batali has provided his favorite recipe for Baked Penne with Eggplant Pasta alla Norma. Recipe courtesy of Mario’s book: Molto Italiano (ecco 2005)