Mark Ladner used to be executive chef of Del Posto, the restaurant owned by Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich which can boast, among other things, an important record: the 4 stars of the New York Times, an acknowledgement assigned in 2011 to just 6 restaurants in the Big Apple, and the only Italian restaurant to receive it. Not that it’s been plain sailing all the way: the Michelin guide, for example, doesn’t fully understand it and after eating there, it easy to see why. Del Posto is an authentic war machine of haute cuisine, capable of serving 400 meals a day, proposing Italian dishes and wines.
All of this is thanks to the work of the watchmaker Ladner, class of 1970, quiet and a wearer of Clark Kent-style glasses who started working as a pizza-chef in Boston, having inherited his passion for Italian food from his aunt who «made amazing treats for the whole family». Before the current owners, Ladner has worked under two great masters: Todd English at Olives in Boston, who taught him to cook pizza properly (at Otto, pizzeria and another restaurant of the Batali empire) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, «who taught ne the concept of portion».
Alongside Batali, Ladner developed the sense of his Italian cooking: uncomplicated flavours, classic, traditional and familiar. Then, the respect of the customer, who comes before every form of self-centeredness in the kitchen. And the food itself, far from personal. Because it’s «Italian but set in the urban context of Manhattan’s fine dining».
At the end of 2016, Ladner left Del Posto to start a brand new adventure, Pasta Flyer, the first fast food dedicated to Italian pasta.
This article is curated by Identità Golose, the publication that organises the international fine dining congress, publishes website www.identitagolose.com and the online Guida Identità Golose, on top of curating many other events in Italy and abroad
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Mollica with beans in New York
Vito Mollica will be one of the "Magnificent 16" chef-protagonists of the next edition of Identità New York, to be held in the US metropolis, at Eataly on Fifth Avenue, from Wednesday 30th September till Saturday 3rd October
Evan Hanczor, right, with George Weld. The latter is the founder of restaurant Egg in Brooklyn, where Hanczor works since 2009. Together they turned it into a point of reference for breakfast, in New York and beyond