One year after winning the title of Iron Chef, Marc Forgione opened his new restaurant American Cut at the Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City! Join us for an insider look and exclusive interview below with Executive Chef, Owner and Iron Chef, Marc Forgione.
"Scallops, Caviar & Salty Fingers"
"Concentrate on the kitchen, and not on television, learn how to cook first!", says Iron Chef, Marc Forgione. One year has passed since winning the Iron Chef competition, and Marc is busy as ever! A new restaurant in Atlantic City, releasing his own collection of wines, this chef is just getting started.
What was the most challenging aspect of the Iron Chef Competition? What did it change for you on both personal and professional levels?
There's competition and there's a regular kitchen. The hustle doesn't change, but the feeling does. You cannot redo anything, a mistake is already a mistake. The cameras are there capturing everything. There are lights in your face and you need to be speedier than usual. There's no backup...no sous chef! Usually you want to, (need to) achieve perfection for the customer. Now you have to do it for the cameras too! Now I'm still the same chef looking for a challenge, and aiming for perfection and customer satisfaction...I'm just busier!
What is the most challenging aspect of your career?
Basically there's just not enough time. I'm still working out how to manage everything!
"Beet, Quail Egg, Rock Chives & Majii Leaf"
Tell us a bit about your experience at An American Place with your father Larry Forgione...How often do you hear this question?! What were the best/worst experiences you've had working so closely with family? What is the best/worst part of having a famous chef for a father?
It hurt as much as it helped. I was always treated differently because of it. All success is an honor, and it's a great position to be in, but you're more in the spotlight. When I was first learning, if I made a mistake I was faced with comments like, 'look the son of LARRY FORGIONE can't cook a steak!'. But it comes with the territory, I have no right to be sick of it! I look at it as a great opportunity to be successful. I have pride in my name.
Why did you study Restaurant/Hospitality Management despite direct experience in the kitchen?
At first I actually studied something else...Forestry and then I was a Psych Major. But this felt forced. I always loved cooking and I would do it for my friends. I had already worked in the kitchen when I was younger, and I realized it was how I really had fun. Cooking was natural for me. Why not do what you love?
Your style is somehow French Rustic, full of flavor, no BS and still sophisticated. Was that style inspired by what you learned in France? Which chef was your " mentor" and why?
I went to France to learn and also because I wanted to go where I was an unknown. I needed to earn my keep. I worked with Daniel Boulud and no one had any idea who he was! Ha! I'd have to say he was my biggest influence there.
You are the youngest American born chef/owner to receive a Michelin Star in consecutive years, 2010, 2011 & 2012. How do you fight to maintain these standards? How do you find the perfect fits for your culinary team?
In 2010 I had unknown cooks (at the time) and they did it themselves. It was unexpected, though we worked hard, and it paid off. I've actually had my sous chefs here (Barry & Chris) almost the entire time I've been at Restaurant Marc Forgione. The other half of my team were externs, starting for free and working on the line.
You're set to open a new steak house, American Cut at the Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City this Spring. What was your inspiration to move a location out of New York? There are so many steak houses out there, what steps are you taking to set your new restaurant apart?
I've actually worked in a lot of steak houses, so the transition will be easy. I was extremely impressed with the location...I checked Las Vegas and NY first, but really liked the package in Atlantic City. The casino is brand new, and the city is changing.
To set ourselves apart, American Cut will have an old world feeling. And unlike other steak houses which appeal mainly to men, we'll be open to everyone's tastes! One thing I'm really excited about is our raw bar which will be old world charcuterie style. It will have 300 seats, 27 chefs, and 5 sous chefs.
"Beef Tartare, Caper, Tahoon Cress, Mitsuba Cress"
We've noticed your newest venture: Launching your signature wine label with sommelier, Matt Conway. Tell us more about that! What made you decide to go in that direction? Did you have to patent your hair? (great labeling!)
We're doing it for fun! Two of our favorite wines are on the list at Restaurant Marc Forgione, and we decided, why not! The logo is a funny story. I was holding paper and light from behind was casting the shadow of my mohawk. It just made sense!
So now of course, we have to ask you this question...Why do you love Koppert Cress so much?
We get Micro-Vegetables (live cresses) and cut 30 minutes before service. It's fresh and more beautiful. The flavor is there. It's not even a question, it's not comparable to other Micros. Koppert Cress Coriander Cress vs. Micro Cilantro is a no brainer. It just taste better. Same with Koppert Cress Mitsuba vs. regular Parsley.
Why are locally grown, locally sourced ingredients important to you?
If i can get the best ingredients locally I will. You can't say that about everything. If the best olive oil comes from Italy, I'm not sourcing it from NY.
What is your specialty?
We actually have a greatest hits menu. You can get BBQ Baked Oysters, Veal Tenderloin & Hiramasa Tartare! These are our best dishes, so we always keep them on board.
Funniest kitchen moment?
Well I'm sure you already heard about that one, but...When we kicked the NYT writer out...He told us to be quiet in the kitchen, and he told me to shut up. I went to his table (right outside of our kitchen) and apologized. He put his hand in my face and became very rude. I asked him to leave. He was at a table full of people who didn't leave with him. He went alone. Tips for new chefs?Concentrate on the kitchen, not TV. Learn how to cook first.