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Fame & Fortune: TV chef Mario Batali

Business grad swapped portfolio theory for pasta
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Bankrate: Did they seek you out?

Batali: Yeah, I met some kid at a party with a bow tie on and he said, "How would you like to be on TV?" and I'm like yeah, right, get out of my face. And he said, "No, really. Let's have lunch." I met with him and Reese Schoenfeld, who was the original president and developer of The Food Network, and six weeks later I was on the air.

Bankrate: What was that like?

Batali: Ayiii! If you look back at the old shows, I'm not as seasoned as I am now. I looked pretty goofy, but I was passionate about it and I stuck with it.

Bankrate: Between TV, writing books and running your restaurants, where do you find the time?

Batali: I book myself pretty aggressively, but if you get up every morning and set yourself out a day where you compartmentalize a couple of the things, you can get a lot done. I'm a good producer.

Bankrate: Do you still find time to work the hot line?

Batali: Yeah, I was there for the last five months as we opened Del Posto. This is the first week that I'm not on the line.

Bankrate: What did winning the prestigious James Beard award mean to you?

Batali: It's nice, you know. That's the one award that's really chosen by your peers and the journalists who appreciate you and judge you. I was very proud. As I said in my acceptance speech, I'm really the spokesperson at this point for a team of great players, so I accept it on their behalf.

Bankrate: Teamwork is essential for success in your business.

Batali: Exactly. There's a lot of stress everyday in the restaurant business and a lot of little quirky things can happen that can divide the team or fragment the team or cause the team to think less of each other, and you've got to get in there and keep them happy. When I'm in the restaurant, everyone is always happy because I've always got a light way of looking at things and a good way of keeping people smiling, happy and doing what they like to do.

Next: " I like the idea of having four houses for four seasons"
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