Mario was born and raised in Queens, New York. After years of working weekends and summers in local eateries, Mario attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. He worked as an apprentice at Babbo, and following his graduation from CIA, Mario returned to Batali & Bastianich to join the opening team at Lupa Osteria Romana in Greenwich Village. Following Lupa, Mario went on to work at a small family-run restaurant on the western coast of Tuscany called La Dogana. Upon returning home, Mario worked for two masters with very different approaches. First came an opportunity to learn from Daniel Boulud, who taught precise, classic French cuisine at the highest level. Mario then went on to work for Chef Wylie Dufresne, and again with his mentor Mark Ladner to open Del Posto. Feeling the urge to create his own space, Mario left the restaurant after two and a half years to pursue his dream of being an Executive Chef. In 2009 he opened Torrisi Italian Specialties with partner Rich Torrisi, but it wasn't until meeting and teaming up with Jeff Zalaznick in 2010 that Major Food Group was born. In addition to the restaurants' numerous accolades, Mario has been awarded Best New Chef in America by Food & Wine Magazine and nominated for several James Beard Awards. Mario currently lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.