Few chefs came close to the culinary feats achieved by Mario Batali as a restaurateur, author and television personality. Since opening his first restaurant Pò in 1993, Batali excited the palates of discerning diners with his simple yet inventive take on authentic Italian cuisine. A recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Chef of the Year" (2005), Batali opened a string of successful restaurants in and outside of New York City, including his flagship Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, a gastronomic favorite in Greenwich Village. Always eager to share with the American public his passion for true Italian cooking, Batali hosted a number of Food Network shows including the hit series "Molto Mario" (1996-2004) and "Ciao America with Mario Batali" (2003-04). As an Iron Chef title holder, Batali was a formidable contender on the top-rated program "Iron Chef America: The Series" (Food Network, 2005- ), a race-against-the-clock cooking competition on which the famed chef showcased his culinary expertise, entertained viewers with his genuine exuberance, and established himself as true master of Italian cuisine.