Mark Ladner is the Executive Chef of Del Posto Restaurant, on Manhattan’s Westside, which he opened in the fall of 2005. The restaurant received a four-star New York Times rating in 2010, and has been more recently honored with one Michelin star, a Relais & Chateaux distinction, a grand award from The Wine Spectator and five Mobile Diamonds. Mark cooks a sensible interpretation of modern, regional, Italian-American cuisine or "Cucina New Yorkese." He always uses responsibly raised and locally sourced products, hence the name Del Posto, meaning “of the place.” Mark's education began in Cambridge, MA at independently owned, and operated pizza counters, followed by a slightly more formal culinary schooling at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He immigrated to NYC in the early 1990s, working with several well-regarded restaurant men, before meeting Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, and opening Babbo Ristaronte as sous chef in 1998. Mark has since opened Lupa Osteria Romana (1999), Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (2002) and Del Posto (2005), all as chef/partner. Mark is the co-author of Molto Gusto (2010) with Mario Batali. Currently in residence high in the sky in Midtown Manhattan, Mark spends his free time chasing after his children and studying Japanese eating and drinking culture. He can most often be found on his iPad in a corner of Del Posto’s kitchen.
I like to use ricotta with egg yolk in a dish called gnudi. It’s a kind of pasta-less ricotta ravioli with an egg yolk stuffing on a bed of asparagus. Our pastry chef Brooks Headley uses ricotta in a chocolate, pistachio and olive oil tortino (pie). But it’s also very tasty just with a slice of good bread! No matter what the recipe, you have to preserve its region structure and curdled texture as much as possible.
I don’t always have ricotta on the menu because its production is seasonal. It is produced by Dancing Ewe Farm in Granville, New York, near the Massachusetts and Vermont borders. They only make Italian cheeses. The flavor of this fresh cheese reflects the diet of the ewes, the terroir that nourishes them. It’s also an artisanal product, produced the old-fashioned way — a tradition that needs to be preserved.