Who Is Mario Batali?
Mario Batali was born September 19, 1960, in Seattle, Washington. Batali began his studies at Le Cordon Bleu before dropping out to apprentice in London and then open Babbo in New York. The restaurant received "The Best New Restaurant" award from the James Beard Foundation. Batali continued to open multiple restaurants and write many books, and in 2011 he began his stint as co-host of the cooking-themed talk show The Chew. In 2017, Batali announced he was stepping away from day-to-day operations of his businesses over accusations of sexual misconduct.
Chef, restaurateur, television personality. Born in Seattle to French and Italian parents, Batali attended high school in Spain and college at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he was a student of Spanish theater. Always passionate about food, Batali enlisted at Le Cordon Bleu in London only to drop out soon after for an apprenticeship with London's legendary Marco Pierre White. He spent three years training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne, returning to the States to put his newfound talents to work.
Batali's flagship restaurant, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, opened in Manhattan's West Village in 1998. The restaurant received three stars from The New York Times and was named "The Best New Restaurant of 1998" by the James Beard Foundation. Subsequent Italian eateries included a Roman-style trattoria called Lupa, a southern Italian seafood trattoria called Esca (2000) and Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (2003). Batali also co-founded a retail shop called Italian Wine Merchants.
TV and Books
The chef and restaurateur began hosting the Food Network programs Molto Mario and Mario Eats Italy. Known for his signature orange clogs and red beard, he encouraged viewers to embrace Italian cookery with gusto. In 2011, Batali became a co-host for the ABC daytime cooking show The Chew, alongside Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Michael Symon and Daphne Oz. He has also authored multiple books, including Simple Italian Food, Mario Batali Holiday Food and The Babbo Cookbook.
Sexual Harassment Allegations
In December 2017, after four women accused the celebrity chef of touching them inappropriately, Batali announced he was stepping aside from the daily operations of his businesses.
"Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” he said in a statement. “That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”
A few days later, ABC announced that it had terminated its relationship with the celebrity chef, formally ending his run on The Chew.
In May 2018, 60 Minutes reported that Batali was under investigation by the NYPD over sexual misconduct allegations. The story included an interview with a woman who said that Batali drugged her and then sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. Batali denied the allegations.
More accusations surfaced in August 2018, when a woman filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on the grounds that Batali had groped her in April 2017. The woman claimed she suffered emotional distress, anxiety and self-doubt following the alleged incident.
In March 2019, the longtime partnership between Batali and the Bastianich family, which produced the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, came to an end. The chef was also reported to be selling his shares in Eataly, the Italian market chain.
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