Mario Batali

Latin blood flows through Mario Batali’s veins, Italian on his father’s side (his great-grandfather arrived in Montana in 1899) and French-Canadian on his mother’s side, he was born in Seattle in 1960. The son of a Boeing engineer who, after retiring, decided to appease his love of fine food by opening a delicatessen specialising in cured meats and sausages, named Salumi. Mario fed on the aromas of his father’s shop and now his popularity is such that he’s no longer considered to be “just” a chef, restaurant-owner and writer, but also a media personality, one of those people that, at a certain point, become absolute icons.
It was very different in the early days. Batali, American supernova, at the helm of an empire of venues scattered between New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore, plus books and TV programmes, enrolled in London’s Le Cordon Bleu when he was nobody. The school bored him to tears. He was much more interested in the practical side of cooking than the theory, initially working for Marco Pierre White in London and then in 4 or 5 different renowned restaurants in France and California, before going in search of his family’s gastronomic roots (his grandmother was Leonetta Merlino!), moving to Granaglione (Bologna), to work in an in in the hamlet of Borgo Capanne, 200 souls in a municipal district with two thousand inhabitants.
Three years of Italian tradition, then the return to America, self-assured, ready to dive into New York’s devastating restaurant circuit. In 1993 he opened Po, five years before a meeting that was to change his life. This meeting was with Joe Bastianich and together they opened Babbo in Greenwich Village. For the James Beard Foundation it was “Best new restaurant of 1998” in the same way that he, Mario, was Man of the Year, chef category, for GQ in 1999 and Best Chef New York City in 2002 for James Beard. Three years on the same foundation appointed him top chef overall.
It would take ages to list all the venues and it would end up looking like the telephone directory. Before Manzo in Eataly (summer 2010), we should mention Lupa Osteria Romana (1999), Esca (2000) and Del Posto, chef Mark Ladner, in 2005. In October 2010 Sam Sifton, critic for the New York Times, awarded Del Posto 4 stars. No Italian restaurant had achieved such a high ranking on the world’s most prestigious gastronomy page for 36 years. In 2008, Batali linked his name to the Mario Batali Foundation which offers correct dietary education for children.


Has participated in

Identità New York


Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose. twitter @oloapmarchi