What Mario Batali Knows About Running Your Business Better

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Have you seen a cooking show lately? What about one of those “reality” shows that spy on “real” kitchens? Whether you choose to believe they’re reality or not, they all usually feature the same dynamic: There’s a chef yelling and a staff yelling back and everything tailspins into chaos.

Well, meat-scarf enthusiast and chef-writer-restaurateur-media personality Mario Batali recently spoke with the New York Times about his management practices, and they most certainly apply to your business, whether you even have a kitchen in your office or not.

First off, stop yelling.

“If you’re not close enough to be able to touch me, you can’t talk to me,” explains Batali. “If you’re yelling at me, there can be problems understanding the nature of your message.”

Batali’s point is that yelling is a byproduct of people panicking because they haven’t finished their work in time. It’s something we can all relate to: freaking out because a deadline is approaching or just zipped by. It’s the job, though, and you should be used to it by now. Just like kitchens are used to it getting crazy-busy around dinner, you should be used to finishing the day’s work by dinnertime. Or if you’re running a startup, being slammed all the time. It’s the work you got to put in to get the job done, so stop yelling.

Another pearl onion of wisdom from Batali? “Realize you’re not the most important or the most intelligent person in the room at all times.”

When you do that, you listen and learn from others. And I’ve always said, the moment you start to think you know everything is the exact moment you start losing knowledge. You get rusty. You get comfortable. You get lazy. Then you get fired. Then you get old and bitter and are convinced everyone else in your life was wrong.

But I digress.

Read Batali’s interview, it’s good stuff, and easily could have the headline and some of the specifics swapped out to read as an interview about any business. So, as the one hungry bone said to the other, “Bon appetit.” Read up!

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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