Chef Marc Forgione
Marc Forgione joined his culinary legend father Larry Forgione in the industry at the young age of 16. When asked why he decided to immerse himself in the culinary industry he explains, “Most kids don’t want to do what dad did when they grow up. I wanted to do something different and I tried to do many different things, but I always came back to cooking.” Since the beginning of his culinary journey, he has built on the foundation of his father’s teachings to discover his own identity as a chef and was honored with being the youngest American born chef owener to receive a Michelin star for three consecutive years.
What made you want to be a chef?
I learned how to cook at a very young age and it just came natural to me. One day when I was cooking dinner for a bunch of my friends at home, and I realized cooking was making me happy. It was like a light went off. Well, if this is what makes me happy and people enjoy what I cook, this may be it. But then to actually say “I want to be a chef” and make my own restaurant… I had another “light went off” moment in France. I worked with Michel Guérard at a 3 star Michelin restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I had a lot of alone time, because I didn’t speak French when I first got there. Just seeing the products, the way they do things, and with all of the alone time I had, I just sat and wrote in a book the whole time. That was when I really started to form my ideas for this restaurant.
Do you have a mentor or chef who particularly inspired you?
I have had a lot of mentors, I had a unique training. I worked with many different chefs with many different styles. I had my father who was American, Patricia Yeo who was Chinese, Chef Kazuo who was Japanese, Petter Maffei who was Italian, Michel Guerard and Laron Torde who were both French… they all inspired me in different ways and with different things. It is why I cook the way I do now, which is what I like to call “New York cuisine” since it has a little influence from everybody.
What do you think of the importance of having cooking experience in foreign countries?
Going back to my influences and global influences, it is the same when I travel. I love tasting different foods from different places. One of my signature dishes here, the chili lobster, is from one of my travels to Singapore and tasting the chili crab. Whenever I travel I take little bits and pieces of the country with me.
What do you think of the recent popularity of Japanese food and knives?
I think the recent popularity of Japanese food is because food is coming to a full circle where people are going back to real, pure and clean ingredients. To me Japanese cuisine is simple things done in a very simple way, but with the utmost care. I think that is why it has become so popular. Japanese knives are made the same way– with a respect for simplicity.
Do you have any advice for chefs who are thinking about buying their first Japanese knife?
I would go into Korin. They let you take the knives out and hold them to really get a feel for them. Talk to the people there and get some advice, let them know what you’re going to be doing with the knife, then go from there. Understand that it’s a different style of knife, so you have to get all of the information you possibly can.
What is your goal for your profession?
To continue to feed people to the best of my ability. To evolve, stay humble, and have fun.
What is your advice for aspiring chefs?
Be patient. There is so much instant gratification nowadays and wanting to take over the world as fast as you can, but be humble and listen to what people are telling you. Understand that it is okay to work before you get to where you want to be.
What is your philosophy towards hospitality?
Hospitality should be fun and thoughtful. Treat customers like family, but understand that people are coming out to have a good time. Relax, have fun, and make sure every little thing is taken care of for them.