Chef Mario Carbone of Major Food Group - Biography

New York, NY

July 2012

Growing up in Queens, Mario Carbone spent holidays at his grandparents’ dinner table, where meals took on mythic proportions thanks to the transcendent culinary skills of Carbone’s grandfather, Vito Sanna. By 15, Carbone was cooking fried calamari and red sauce in neighborhood restaurants.

After two years of working weekends and summers in local eateries, Carbone enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. When internship time came, an uncertain Carbone applied to no fewer than 50 of New York’s top restaurants, fielding rejections before receiving one fateful call from Babbo. After graduation, Carbone returned to Batali to help open Lupa Osteria Romana under Chef Mark Ladner, who would prove to be one of the most influential people in Carbone’s career.

Young and hungry, Carbone headed to La Dogana, a small family-run restaurant in Tuscany, where he learned a deep appreciation for Italian culinary culture. Coming home inspired, Carbone trained under two distinct masters: classically precise Daniel Boulud and hyper-progressive Wylie Dufresne. So when the opportunity came to open Del Posto as executive sous chef with Ladner, Carbone was more than ready.

In 2009, Carbone opened Torrisi Italian Specialties with partner Rich Torrisi. What began as an extraordinary Italian-American deli quickly evolved, serving innovative prix-fixe dinners in the evenings and garnering instant praise—not to mention a James Beard nomination for “Best New Restaurant.” In 2010, Carbone and Torrisi partnered with Jeff Zalaznick to form Major Food Group and open casual Italian sandwich restaurant, Parm. They’ve since expanded with two Parm locations, an entirely revamped tasting menu at Torrisi, and a new project in the works. In 2012, Carbone was one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs in America.”