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Marc Forgione Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Marc Forgione

Food Network's search for The Next Iron Chef came to a thrilling and rewarding end as renowned New York chef Marc Forgione was crowned winner during the season three finale. After eight weeks of intense culinary competition, Forgione went up against fellow New York chef Marco Canora in the Thanksgiving-themed finale showdown and was selected as the winner by existing Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon as well as Donatella Arpaia (restaurateur and cookbook author), and Simon Mujumdar (food writer and broadcaster) who served as judges throughout the series. Forgione enters Kitchen Stadium for his first battle as an Iron Chef against Chef R.J. Cooper (of Rogue in Washington, D.C.) on Sunday, November 28th at 10pm ET/PT.

Marc Forgione (Chef & Owner of Marc Forgione in New York), son of Larry Forgione, the "godfather of New American cuisine," began his career at age 16 working in his father's St. Louis restaurant. After earning a hotel restaurant degree, Forgione left for France where he worked in prestigious restaurants and learned from numerous notable chefs. In 2008, Forgione opened New York's Forge (now known as Marc Forgione), and he has created a signature straightforward American style with bold flavors and playful touches he calls the "melting pot cuisine." Forgione was most recently coveted with his second Michelin star in the 2011 guide, making him the youngest American-born chef and owner to receive the honor in consecutive years (2010, 2011). In addition, Forgione received a two-star review in The New York Times in October 2010. He has also received recognitions from Forbes, Esquire, Restaurant and Hospitality Magazine, The Zagat Guide and was named "Rising Star of the Year" by Star Chefs.

I had a chance to speak with Marc Forgione about his The Next Iron Chef victory, as well as about his upcoming Iron Chef battle.

First of all, congratulations on the win. Looking back to The Next Iron Chef, which challenge was the most difficult for you?

Marc Forgione:
By far and away, for me, the hardest one was the buffest challenge. We had to create three hot and two cold dishes, and you had to feed 25 people, and it had to be food that could sit for an hour with sterno underneath it. It was just very challenging, not stuff that I was ever used to doing before. I'd never really cooked food that would have to hold like that. And, although it didn't show it, my pants ripped open about half way through the battle. They don't stop the clock for anything, so I had to adjust my apron to cover my derriere.

Looking forward to The Iron Chef, which secret ingredient do you most dread getting and which do you most hope you get?

Marc Forgione:
You know what I would love to get, after doing that battle in Vegas? I would love to get my hands on that strip loin that Canora had and I would love to cook with that Mangalitsa Pork. And uni, I would love to do battle uni. As far as ingredients that I don't want, there's nothing out there that I don't want to cook with. I pretty much eat anything.

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