Restaurateur Joe Bastianich of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group - Biography

New York, NY

May 2012

For Restaurateur Joe Bastianich, a life in the culinary industry seems predestined. Growing up in parents Felice and Lidia’s traditional Italian restaurants in Queens and Manhattan, Bastianich was expected to help out with everything from dish washing to morning runs to the meat market. These early experiences taught Bastianich plenty about what it takes to turn a profit in the restaurant business. These lessons helped him to later create an empire of Italian wine and cuisine, which now counts Del Posto, Babbo, Eataly, and Lupa in its ranks.

But before fully succumbing to his fate as a restaurant man, Bastianich thought he could escape his Italian heritage and the culinary industry. After studying philosophy and political science at Boston College, his first job was on Wall St on the Merrill Lynch trading floor. A year passed by, and Bastianich realized that this was not the path for him. He resigned from his job, and armed with a one-way ticket to Italy, he ate, drank and worked his way for over a year, experiencing the majesty of Italian cuisine and receiving a hands-on education in wine. Inspired by what he saw and tasted in Europe, Bastianich returned to New York City and opened Becco with Lidia as his partner.

Since then, Bastianich has teamed up with Lidia and Mario Batali on numerous occasions, focusing on wine programs and operational side of things at some of the most distinguished Italian restaurants in the country. In 2005, Bastianich won the Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional award from both James Beard and Bon Appétit. He also owns three wineries in Italy, judges for the TV show “MasterChef,” and published his tell-all memoir Restaurant Man in 2011.