Happy Birthday, Mario Batali! Five Ways to Emulate the Chef's Success

Today, celebrity chef and restauranteur Mario Batali turns 52. Born on Sept. 19, 1960 in Seattle, Washington to parents of Italian and French Canadian descent, Batali is one of the most successful chefs in the culinary industry. He built his empire on the concept of cooking up simple yet delicious Italian dishes.

By the age of 27, Batali had quickly worked his way from dishwasher up the food chain, scoring a spot as the highest-paid young chef at the Four Seasons hotel empire. His laid-back, charming personality and atrocious fashion wear scored him a nice television and international fame. With his current operation of 16 restaurants in cities from New York City to Singapore, to penning cooking books, and giving back to the community through charitable efforts, the ginger-haired New York City resident and father of two boasts a serious fortune found through his love of food.

For foodies with an ambitious appetite for a prospering culinary career

like Batali, we provide you with a guide to celebrity-chef-super


5. Drop Out of Culinary School

earned his bachelor degree in useful subjects that really guarantee a

job, like Spanish Language, Theater, and Economics. He later attended

culinary school, only to eventually drop out. Yes, that's right. The man

knew early on that what is taught in the classroom doesn't always equate to landing a job. Before shelling out

precious cash on tuition, scour restaurant job openings on


4. Choose Function over Fashion

is known for his interesting fashion choices, most notably for sporting

orange Crocs, Those bright, orange-juice colored sandals are comfortable and breathable -- handy for standing up behind a stove all day. His goofy yet functional

Crocs allow for his feet to stay cool while he's busy cooking up his

Italian grandma's secret sauce. Proving that it pays to follow the beat of your own hideously orange drum, Batali was even made a spokesperson for Crocs in 2007. And if it's too darn hot in the

kitchen, do what Batali does and ditch the pants and opt for shorts.

You'll thank us later -- perhaps when you reach the echelons of fame and get hired to wear pink Dockers.

3. Sport A Ponytail
So Batali

could swiftly move about in the kitchen, he opted to don his long-ginger

hair in a ponytail. Now with his hair pulled back in place, this

aerodynamic do gives him what he needs to confidently make it work in

front of the stove. Not to mention that those orange Crocs match

perfectly with his hair. We suspect this is the man's secret weapon.

2. Squeeze Out Some Coin
Of course Batali has mad cooking skills, but making it huge in America often also requires savvy capitalist maneuvering. Batali built his restaurant partnership into a massive brand, but it didn't come without pain. Some of his waitstaff sued, saying that he unscrupulously took a portion of

their tip money. Batali and his lawyers balked, saying that greedy workers and lawyers were abusing the legal system, forcing them to settle instead of risking an expensive court judgement.

1. Come Out Looking Good
In March, Batali and his team settled for $5.25 million, though the company admitted no guilt. In May 2012, the millionaire chef accepted a food challenge in which he was dared to live off of $31 worth of food stamps for a

week. The tip lawsuit behind him, he lived a

humble week of eating a rice-and-bean-based meal plan. Here's hoping his birthday dinner is more delightful.

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