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Celebrity Chef Batali's New Bet: Home Cooking

Chef Mario Batali
Riccardo S. Savi | Getty Images

No need to head to Europe for a sumptuous home-cooked Italian meal, says celebrity chef and author Mario Batali.

“We are bringing the Italian dream and American dream together,” Batali, the best-known backer of a new food concept called Eataly, told CNBC Tuesday, from the floor of the mega-retail store in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.

The 42,500-square-foot restaurant and grocery space alsohas a 4,500-square-foot open-air rooftop beer garden.

Within that area are seven full-service eateries, a café, wine shop, bakery and patisserie and a culinary educational center, where customers can get instructions on how to prepare various Italian dishes at home.

In addition to being known for his creative cooking, popular restaurants and self-promotion, Batali is also identified by his work garb—shorts and brightly colored Crocs. He owns 18 restaurants, including Babbo, Esca and Del Posto, and formerly hosted his own show on the Food Network.

TheBatali-Bastianich Hospitality Group, a collaboration that includes Batali and the Bastianiches, son Joe and mother Lidia, restaurateurs and cookbook authors, are behind the Eataly venture, along with Oscar Farinetti, founder of the Eataly concept, which debuted in Turin, Italy, four years ago.

Lidia Bastianich hosts two cooking program on PBS, including “Lidia’s Italy.”

“We are very bullish on the outlook of the market because, it’s about a quality and enriching your lifestyle and the way you live,” Joe Bastianich told CNBC Tuesday. “There will always be an active market in New York for that kind of stuff.”

“You can come and taste products, but it’s really about the retail business," added Batali. "We want people to cook at home more, and that’s really the fundamental understanding of the Italian world.”

Kerima Greene contributed to this story.