BIOS

Mario Batali believes that olive oil is as precious as gold, shorts are acceptable attire for every season, and food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty. To that end, Mario, together with his business partner Joe Bastianich, creates magic night after night in his many New York City hotspots, the flagship of which is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an award-winning Greenwich Village dining establishment where Mario has seamlessly combined traditional Italian principles with intelligent culinary adventure since June 1998.

Among his many accolades, Mario was named "Man of the Year" in the chef category by GQ Magazine in 1999. In 2002 he won the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: New York City" award, and in 2005 the James Beard Foundation awarded Mario "Outstanding Chef of the Year". Mario is also one of the recipients of the 2001 D'Artagnan Cervena Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, a prestigious lifetime achievement award.

Ever the avid educator, Mario hosts two Food Network programs, "Molto Mario" and "Ciao America". He also engages in fierce culinary battle in the Food Network series "Iron Chef America." Mario has authored Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter, 1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter, 2000); The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002); and his latest, Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes (Ecco, 2005). In 2006, his fan-base grew dramatically when he published Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style (Sporting News 2006), the ultimate cookbook for NASCAR fans.

Billy Harris has been amazing corporate audiences for fifteen years with his contagious energy and unique sales presentation. With a program that is part laughter, part illusion and part motivation, Billy's sharp timing and outrageous improvisational skills will add a new dimension to your next Corporate Event.

A cousin of Vaudville great Georgie Jessel, Billy has been performing his entire life. His first experience with magic came when he was five years old - he made a quarter "vanish." By the tender age of five and a half, he understood how to "work a room!" He's been perfecting both these skills ever since.

Billy entertains thousands of people every year throughout the United States and around the world. When he's not "performing," Billy, his wife Sharon, daughter Georgie, and dog Missy divide their time between Los Angeles and New York.

TONY ABOU-GANIM the Modern Mixologist Formerly of the Bellagio Resort, Las Vegas Tony Abou-Ganim, currently featured on Iron Chef America with Mario Batali just released his first DVD "Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home" (February 2007). Most notably featured demonstrating the art of cocktail preparation on the Fine Living Network program "Raising the Bar: America's Best Bar Chefs," grew up in the bar business, learning the craft from his cousin Helen David at the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan. Tony's initial introduction to the business was steeped in the tradition of classic cocktails and professional barmanship, grooming him to become a leader in the beverage industry.

After graduating from college, Tony learned an appreciation for a well made cocktail using only the freshest ingredients at Jack Slick's Balboa Cafe in San Francisco. In 1990, Tony assisted with the opening of "Harry Denton's", a legendary hangout in Fog City. In 1993, Tony moved to New York City where he worked with Mario Batali at Po in the West Village. In 1995, Tony returned to San Francisco and re-joined Harry Denton to open "Harry Denton's Starlight Room", atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. It was here that Tony created his first "Specialty Drink Menu" featuring several of his original cocktail recipes including the Cable Car, Sunsplash, and Starlight.

In 1998, Tony was hand-picked by Steve Wynn to create the cocktail program at his Bellagio Resort. Tony immediately implemented his philosophy of bartending and drink preparation - quality ingredients and proper technique create great drinks - developing the hundreds of original cocktails for the resorts 22 bars. Currently, Tony operates his own beverage consulting firm specializing in bar staff training, product education and cocktail development.

As the National Ambassador of the US Bartenders Guild, www.usbg.org, and Associate Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org, Tony continues to educate about the history and lore of cocktails as well as lead the bar industry into continually improving the art of the cocktail. Tony lives in Las Vegas where he hones his craft daily by creating, sharing and enjoying the very best cocktails.

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