This 35-year-old son of Larry Forgione, who is considered a
pioneer of modern American cuisine, trained with top European
and American chefs after college. After achieving success with
his own restaurant, he won the popular U.S. television
competition show "Iron Chef" on the Food Network in 2010.
Along with his personal story, Forgione offers 170 recipes in
his self-titled book, co-written with Olga Massov and released
Some of the recipes feature regularly at Marc Forgione, whose
menu critics have praised for its use of seasonal local
ingredients with modern techniques.
The 35-year-old New York native, whose brother Bryan is also a
chef, spoke to Reuters about his career and how to be run a
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: I really wanted people to know the story of how everybody had
to work to keep up what is now Marc Forgione and how to keep it
going. It was like going to hell and back during the recession.
I don't think everyone realizes how hard the journey has been. I
think a lot people would look on the outside with me being my
dad's son and an Iron Chef. I wanted people to know it wasn't
easier to have what I've gotten. Hopefully this will help people
in the future when they have a hard time on their own.
Q: What was your toughest challenge? How did things change?
A: The toughest thing we had to deal with was getting people to
come and eat in 2009. It was as slow as you could possibly
imagine. Getting a Michelin star really increased our business
right off the bat. I was ready to sell the business, then we got
the star that week. The week I was ready to sell we got the star
so I decided to give it another year.
Q: For first-time diners at Marc Forgione, what is the
impression you want to give them?
A: We like to use the term 'rip their faces off.' It's kind of
an inside joke that we want to rip their faces off with
hospitality. We want to turn first-timers into second-timers,
fifth-timers into 25th-timers. We enjoy people coming back.
That's one of the reasons we change the menu as much as we do,
being able to cater to people many times to give them a
different experience and to just show them the love, you know.
Q: What was it like growing up under your father, a famous chef?
A: When I was growing up, I had no idea my dad was a famous
chef. It's not like we were in a store and people were asking
for his autograph. He was obviously very known in the food
world. At the end of the day, he was just 'Dad.' I have always
been very proud and very respectful of what he has accomplished
and what he set out to do which is an American category of food,
which didn’t exist before.
Q: What is the best advice your father gave you?
A: When I told him I wanted to be a chef, he kind of looked at
me, not like he was trying to scare me. He wanted to make sure I
knew, say goodbye to your weekends, say goodbye to the friends
you have now, say goodbye to holidays, say goodbye to a 'normal'
life. I think I have taken that with me. When I see young kids
who are not sure of being a chef, I let them know. This is a
hard business. You want to make sure you love it. If you don't,
don't do it. As far as cooking, he always taught me to have
respect for the ingredients, have respect for the business, have
respect for the chefs you are working for, have respect for the
chefs who have been there before you.
Recipe (from "Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the
Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant")
Fried Chicken and Honey (Serves 4)
20 duck tongues (about ˝ pound), rinsed in cold water
2 cups home-made or store-bought veal stock
2 cups home-made or store-bought chicken stock
˝ Vidalia onion
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1 Bouquet Garni (see below)
2 quarts buttermilk, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Ararat spice mix or a spice blend of choice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 recipe Duck Glaze (see below)
1. In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil over
high heat. Add the duck tongues, reduce the heat to low, and gently
simmer the tongues for about 10 minutes, periodically skimming any
impurities that rise to the surface. Drain the tongues and transfer
them to a medium Dutch oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit; position the rack in
the middle. In a saucepan, combine the veal and chicken stocks,
onion, bouquet garni, and 1 quart of the buttermilk, and bring to a
boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot buttermilk mixture over the
duck tongues in the Dutch oven, cover, and braise for 1 hour in the
3. Remove the tongues from the liquid and let cool for 15 minutes.
Using your fingertips or a pair of tweezers, pull out the cartilage
in one piece from the fatter end of each tongue. Strain the braising
liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, return the tongues
to the liquid, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
4. Remove the tongues from the braising liquid and place them in a
container with the remaining 1 quart buttermilk. Let sit at room
temperature for at least 1 hour.
5. Add 1 inch of oil to a large skillet and warm the oil over
medium-high heat until the temperature registers 350 degree
Fahrenheit on a deep-frying thermometer. Meanwhile, in a medium
bowl, combine the flour, Ararat, and salt. Remove the tongues from
the buttermilk and dredge them in the seasoned flour. Gently add the
tongues to the skillet (be careful, as the oil may spatter) and fry
for 2 minutes or until the tongues are crispy. Transfer the tongues
to a paper towel–lined tray. Season with salt and serve with warmed
Duck Glaze on the side.
Bouquet Garni (makes 1 bouquet)
2 outer leaves of leeks or 2 celery stalks
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 strip bacon
Make a "sandwich" with the leeks on the outside and the rest of the
ingredient on the inside. Wrap the "sandwich" in bacon and tie it
with a kitchen twine to secure. Use immediately.
Duck Glaze (Makes 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 cups mild honey
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Combine honey, rosemary, cinnamon stick and star anise in a small
saucepot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 15 seconds.
Whisk in the soy sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, and let sit
until ready to sue. If not using immediately, transfer to an
airtight container and store at room temperature for up to a week.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Chizu Nomiyama)
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