Talking to Mario Batali

Chef Mario Batali discusses celebrity, his biggest mistake, and cautions about the possible perils of opening a restaurant in this economic climate
Credit: Melanie Dunea

As the owner of 14 restaurants, the author of six cookbooks, and a familiar presence on several TV shows, Mario Batali has entered the rarefied ranks of what is known as the celebrity chef. Born in Seattle and trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London, Batali became known to millions as the host of the Food Network's Molto Mario and Ciao America as well as an intense culinary opponent on Iron Chef America. Batali, who recently kicked off his PBS television series Spain…On The Road Again (with his friend Gwyneth Paltrow), spoke with BusinessWeek's Stacy Perman about starting a restaurant in a bad economy and keeping it going in an industry known for its high failure rates (BusinessWeek.com, 4/16/07). Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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