Chef Mark Ladner joins Dorothy Cann Hamilton for a special interview on Chef’s Story, recorded at the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015! Chef Ladner touches on his childhood, his formative food memories, his career trajectory and his advice for aspiring chefs. He also explains what drove him to open his pop-up gluten-free pasta concept, Pasta Flyer. Mark Ladner is the James Beard award winning chef of Del Posto. Chef Ladner’s education began in Cambridge, MA at independently owned and operated pizza counters, followed by formal culinary schooling at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved to NYC in the early 90’s and worked with several well-regarded restaurateurs, before meeting Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich and opening Babbo Ristorante as Sous Chef in 1998. Ladner has since opened Lupa Osteria Romana (1999), Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (2002) and Del Posto (2005) as Chef/Partner at each restaurant. Mark co-authored Molto Gusto (Ecco, 2010) with Mario Batali. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.
“I really truly believe that as long as you can make food taste the way that you like, I don’t think you need to spend a tremendous amount of time continuing to polish your culinary skills. You can waste a lot of time spelunking down the rabbit hole for culinary greatness when, in this day and age, from an entrepreneurial and business perspective there’s such a broad range of skill sets necessary to be successful in this industry. Spending too much time trying to perfect a bite of food might not be the best use of your time.” [11:00]
“Once you have your own kitchen it doesn’t necessarily mean you stop learning.” [22:00]
“There are two things I’m adamant about. One is a monkish devotion to pasta – specifically the cooking and saucing of rather than the making or stuffing of. The execution in the last several minutes is something people don’t spend enough time obsessing over. Two is knowing it’s important to remove as much variable for error from the equation before service so you can just focus on service.” [30:00]
“I don’t consider myself to be an elitist person. I need a part of me that’s able to embrace a more populist culture.” [46:00]
–Mark Ladner on Chef’s Story