An Interview with Marc Forgione, the "Next Iron Chef"
Marc will begin his reign as Iron Chef with an Iron Chef America battle on Sunday, November 28th at 10 pm ET/PT on Food Network. Click here to learn more about the show!
Here are some highlights from the interview:
All of the chefs who participate in this show are incredibly accomplished; you have a Michelin star restaurant. What makes the title of “Iron Chef” special to you? What made you have to go after it?
“When I hear that phrase ‘Iron Chef,’ for me the words that come up right away are respect and honor. I’m a very competitive person by nature anyway, so for me, this is one of those things where you either need to put up or shut up with your food; there’s no grey area. You get to cook in front of an entire country watching you on TV- anybody can talk the talk, but this is actually your opportunity to get up there in front of everybody and show your stuff.”
When you entered the kitchen for the very first challenge of that first episode, what emotions did you experience?
“Adrenaline, passion, excitement, and a little bit of anxiety.”
During the competition, which challenge was the most difficult for you?
“By far and away for me, the hardest one was the buffet challenge. We had to create three hot and two cold dishes, we had to feed 25 people, and it had to be food that could sit for an hour with a Sterno underneath it. It was very challenging- not stuff that I was used to ever doing before. And they also didn’t show it, but my pants ripped open halfway through that battle, and they don’t stop the clock for anything! So I just had to kind of adjust my apron to cover my derriere!”
Now that the competition is over and you’re the next Iron Chef, what are your thoughts on the finale against fellow New Yorker Mario?
“I knew that we were doing two opposite things while it was going on, but to really watch it, it almost turned into, like Alton Brown said it best, ‘who do you want to go with? Do you want to go with unpredictable genius or safe and soulful?’”
Is there a valuable lesson that you feel you’ve learned from participating in the “Next Iron Chef” competition?
“Follow my gut. I got a great piece of advice before I left to go on the show- that advice was whatever your first instincts are on a dish, go for it. No matter what it was that popped into my head first, that is the idea that I went with and it worked!”
You father is considered to be “the godfather of New American cuisine.” What do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned from him?
“Ingredients first. You can’t make a bad ingredient taste good. It needs to be fresh, and it needs to be beautiful- build around that. Let the ingredients speak for the dish and everything else will kind of follow.”
Is there another Iron Chef that you look forward to possibly battling in the future?
“I’d love to go against each one of them just to see how I fare.”
What are your plans for your career now that you’ve won “The Next Iron Chef?”
“My plan is to be focused on my restaurant, at least for the next 6 months to a year. I’ve waited my whole life to have a busy restaurant, and now we’re gonna really have it, so I just want to make sure that we’re not disappointing anyone.”
Don’t forget to tune into Iron Chef America on Sundays at 10 pm ET/PT on the Food Network!