Mario Batali and the Power of 'Delusional Optimism'
Topnotch training at Le Cordon Bleu London can get a skilled 'chef de cuisine' a job at a four-star restaurant. But to remain relevant as a celebrity chef, one must master entrepreneurialism and the art of choosing risk over prestige.
Since premiering on the Food Network in 1997, Batali and partners have opened a collection of restaurants that span New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore, and Hong Kong. While most of his restaurants are known for swanky fine-dining, the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group in 2010 launched the first Eataly branch in the U.S. The New York City spot innovatively fuses restaurant, artisanal market fare, and educational elements into an experiential center for hungry foodies, urbanites and fanny-packed tourists alike.
Beyond brick-and-mortars, Batali has dominated the foodie landscape. His brand runs strong through television, the web, philanthropy and even food tourism (Mario Batali Greenwich Village Food Tour launched just this month).
We caught up with Batali at Taste Talks Brooklyn where he discusses turning points in his career, as well as his partnership with Hulu and Walks of New York. He reveals tips on standing tall (on orange Crocs and all) in an industry where just about everyone is a critic.