Mario Batali, Owner
A Seattle-bred, New York-based restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality, Mario Batali is known for his signature style-brazen meets sophisticated, forward meets enduring. In 2002, Mario was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: New York Cityprize; in 2005, JBF named him Outstanding Chef of the Year; and in 2008, Mario and Joe Bastianich were named Outstanding Restaurateursof the year. The New York Times Bestselling author of nine cookbooks, Mario appears daily on ABC’s “The Chew,” a daytime talk show on ABC that celebrates and explores life through food. Mario splits his time between New York City’s Greenwich Village and northern Michigan with his wife, Susan Cahn, and their two sons, Benno and Leo.
Joe Bastianich, Owner
Beginning with almost Dickensian roots, working in his parents Italian restaurant in Queens, washing dishes, cleaning the sidewalk, and touring the jungle-like meat markets of the Bronx, Joe Bastianich’s life charts a culinary adventure that ends with this nice Italian boy becoming one of America’s premier restaurateurs – as well as a noted author, reality television personality, and eventually, a triathlete. After studying finance and spending a year on Wall Street, Joe bought a one-way ticket to Italy and explored the country’s small corners, keeping food and wine a top priority. He came back to New York and opened Becco with his mother, Lidia Bastianich, and then partnered with Mario Batali to open Babbo, which garnered three coveted stars from The New York Times and the prestigious Best New Restaurant in America award from the James Beard Foundation-indeed, the prophetic beginning of their thriving collection of restaurants. In 2005 he was recognized as an Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional by both the James Beard Foundation and Bon Appétit, and in 2008 both he and Mario were awarded the 2008 James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurateur Award. He has co-authored two award winning books on Italian wine, and in its first week of release in May of 2012, Joe’s highly anticipated memoir, Restaurant Man, became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2010, Joe, Lidia, and Mario teamed up with Italian retail pioneer Oscar Farinetti to bring Eataly, the world’s largest Italian artisanal marketplace, to New York. Joe is a judge on FOX’s reality TV hit MasterChef, and MasterChef Jr. as well as Sky’s MasterChef Italia. Joe feels fortunate to be working within “the vernacular of the Italian table.”
Lidia Bastianich, Owner
Lidia Bastianich is one of the best-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Lidia has married her two passions in life – her family and food, to create multiple culinary endeavors alongside her two children, Joseph and Tanya.
Her cookbooks include Lidia’s Italy in America, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy and Lidia’s Italy – all companion books to the television series, “Lidia’s Italy in America” and “Lidia’s Italy” as well as Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian Table and La Cucina di Lidia. Lidia is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants – Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City. She is also founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high-quality broadcast productions.
Lidia designed, in collaboration with her daughter Tanya, Lidia’s Kitchen line, exclusively for QVC. Lidia’s Kitchen provides high quality everyday items such as ceramic serving ware, stone bakeware, and utensils. Along with her daughter Tanya, and son-in-law Corrado Manuali, Lidia launched Nonna Foods as a platform to distribute an array of both existing and new LIDIA’S food products. The line highlights a passion for all things pasta, with seven original varieties of homemade pasta sauce, and eight different cuts of pasta, sold nationally.
Mark Ladner, Executive Chef
Mark Ladner opened Del Posto with Mario, Joe and Lidia in the fall of 2005. The restaurant received a four-star New York Times review in 2010 and was recently honored with a Michelin star, the Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef distinction, The Grand Award from The Wine Spectator and the Five Diamond from AAA.
Chef Ladner’s education began in Cambridge, MA at independently owned and operated pizza counters, followed by formal culinary schooling at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved to NYC in the early 90’s and worked with several well-regarded restaurateurs, before meeting Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich and opening Babbo Ristorante as Sous Chef in 1998. Ladner has since opened Lupa Osteria Romana (1999), Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (2002) and Del Posto (2005) as Chef/Partner at each restaurant. Mark co-authored of Molto Gusto (Ecco,2010) with Mario Batali.
Jeff Katz, General Manager
Jeff Katz has been working in Italian restaurants since he was fifteen. His first job at Pellino’s, a family owned restaurant in Marblehead, (MA) set the foundation for the rest of his career. Katz attended Babson College and majored in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. After graduating from Babson in 2004 he opened La Morra Restaurant in Brookline, Massachusetts, as Beverage Director. Thereafter, he relocated to New York where he worked in sales for Domain Select Wine Estates and then for the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Battery Park. In February 2006, Katz joined the team at Del Posto. He moved quickly through the restaurant’s ranks: starting out as a Dining Room manager, then Private Dining Manager, and finally, in late 2009, General Manager. Under Jeff’s guidance Del Posto received a four-star review from The New York Times, the prestigious Relais & ChateauGrand Chefs distinction, and the Five Diamond Award from AAA.
Brooks Headley, Executive Pastry Chef
Brooks Headley has been the executive pastry chef of Del Posto since March of 2008. He prefers the title “the guy who makes the food at the end of the meal” rather than PASTRY CHEF. Previously Headley spent time at Campanile in Los Angeles and Komi in Washington DC, with a brief eight months at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He considers his dessert style to be feminine, BA-Italian, highly seasonal, and nonna-channeling.
Jeff Porter, Wine Director
Jeff Porter was born and raised in Texas. He became interested in wine at his first restaurant job in Austin. Desiring to learn all that he could about wine, Porter eventually took a stocking position at one of Austin’s best wine shops. He excelled there and was soon buying wine for the shop and traveling throughout Europe. Porter then moved to the West Coast where he first worked for a wine distributor in the Bay Area and then served as Wine Director at Tra Vigne Ristorante in St. Helena, where his passion for wine and hospitality took off. Most recently, Jeff held the positon of Beverage Director at Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. He moved to New York City in March of 2011 to head up the beverage program at Del Posto. He is recognized as an “Advanced Sommelier” by the Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently a candidate for the “Master Sommelier” designation.