Mario Batali is one of the country’s most celebrated chefs. He has opened six highly successful restaurants in New York City, including Esca, Del Posto and his flagship Greenwich Village establishment, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. Batali is a familiar television personality, from his Food Network cooking show, Molto Mario, to his recent PBS series, Spain…On the Road Again, and his appearances as a competitor on Iron Chef. Among his many accolades, Mario was named GQ Magazine’s 1999 “Man of the Year” in the chef category and, in 2002 and 2005 respectively, he won James Beard Foundation awards for “Best Chef: New York City” and “Outstanding Chef of the Year.” Mario is also a recipient of the 2001 D’Artagnan Cervena prestigious lifetime achievement award, “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.”
Mario grew up in Seattle, Washington, one of three children born to Marilyn and Armandino Batali. He spent his childhood watching his grandmother make oxtail ravioli and other Italian specialties passed down in the family. Mario’s father, an engineer for Boeing for 30 years, opened a meat-curing shop in Seattle as a retirement project, attempting to recreate the Italian foods store Mario’s maternal great-great grandparents opened in 1903. The Batali family’s roots are almost entirely in the West. Mario’s great-great-grandfather left Italy for Butte, Montana in 1899 to work in the coal mines and eventually moved further west to settle in Seattle.