Mario Batali is one of the best-known chefs/entrepreneurs in the world. During college, at Rutgers, he double majored: Spanish theater (who knew?) and economics. He was good enough to submit to our FREAK-Quently Asked Questions (past entries here).
An FAQ with Mario Batali:
Q: On my deathbed, I will wish that I had spent more time _________.
A: Learning and playing the banjo.
Q: On my deathbed, I will wish I had spent more money on __________.
A: I feel I will have spent my money well.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far? What was your best accomplishment by the time you turned 16?
A: My relationships with my wife and children.
Having read and learned to love Faulkner‘s The Sound and the Fury.
Q: What’s one goal you’d still like to accomplish?
A: Spend every moment with my wife and children.
Q: What is your net worth as a ratio of your parents’ net worth at the time you were 16 (adjusted for inflation if possible)?
Q: What is the best investment you made in getting to where you are today?
A: Opening 15 restaurants with my business partner Joe Bastianich.
Q: What’s the best financial investment you’ve ever made?
A: Fattoria la Mozza winery in Tuscany.
Q: The worst?
A: Buying Stuff Yer Face pizzeria stock in 1982.
Q: What talent have you always wished you had more of?
A: Patience and musical ability.
Q: What’s the last book you read cover to cover?
A: Fahrenheit 451.
Q: What do you most often lie about?
A: My ability.
Q: Fill in the blanks: I ___________ too much or too often; to avoid this, I tend to ___________.
A: talk, try and listen more carefully
Q: What is your biggest regret in life?
A: It is early.
Q: If you could have any job in the world for one day, what would it be?
A: Jimmie Johnson‘s.
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Q: How much would you sell one of your kidneys for?
A: I would not.
Q: What’s the most expensive piece of clothing you’ve ever bought, and why did you buy it?
A: I am not such a fashion dude, so it would be a tuxedo with short pants I had made for the James Beard awards in 2000 for about $2,100.
Q: Would you rather win a Nobel Prize, an Olympic gold medal, or the Megabucks Lottery?
A: I would love to be smart enough to win the Nobel Prize and be able to ski fast enough for downhill gold, but then I would not be me, so give me the lottery.
Q: How much is too much to spend on a cup of coffee?
A: Five bucks.
Q: What do you collect, and why?
A: Cookbooks for their constant variation.
Q: What is one item you own that you should probably throw out but never will?
A: Old chef coats with logos on them.
Q: New York or California?
Q: What will eventually lead to humankind’s demise, and when will it happen?
A: Hubris. Not for a very long time.
Q: What’s the best possible future discovery or invention?
A: Something to guarantee every child’s health and ability to thrive.
Q: Happiness is ____________.
A: A healthy, thriving family.
Final comment: You can choose happiness.