Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

Chef Mario Batali’s recipe for good management

Saturday, August 28, 2010


We’re more accustomed to seeing chef Mario Batali interviewed in the pages of food magazines than in Harvard Business Review, but that’s where you’ll find him in the May, 2010 issue, in a regular feature called Life’s Work.

Batali has a total of 14 restaurants now, including Babbo, Del Posto, and The Spotted Pig. In the interview he is asked about his strategy for ensuring consistently successful performance. His response would serve as great management advice for any enterprise: “My objective as a manager, of course, is to remove the obstacles that prohibit greatness in the people I’ve hired. So I ask, what is the hardest thing about today? And I say, well, why don’t we get somebody else to do that, or let’s streamline it, make it easier.

We should all strive to “remove the obstacles that prohibit greatness” in the people we’ve hired. Like many a great chef and successful entrepreneur, Batali knows that the best recipes can be those that are simplest.

An excerpt can be found at