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Chef Marc Forgione On Innovating On The Everyday

With his latest restaurant, American Cut, just opened in New York, Marc Forgione discusses the menu-making process, Next Iron Chef, and his famous chili lobster (not safe for the hungry).

Marc Forgione opened his first restaurant in New York's Tribeca neighborhood in 2008. In the five years since, the New York-born chef has gone on to earn rave reviews and consecutive Michelin stars for that spot, Restaurant Marc Forgione, win The Next Iron Chef, launch a restaurant in Atlantic City, American Cut, and recently, open two more Tribeca restaurants—a new outpost of steak-centric American Cut and Khe-Yo, serving Laotian cuisine.

It's an impressive arc for a chef who hasn't yet turned 35 (he'll hit that milestone in December)—more so considering that while his star was ascending, while he was acquiring that requisite Food Network celebrity, and Becoming A Brand, he was a consistent presence in the kitchen at RMF. In other words, Forgione has been that refreshing restaurant star who seems to still actually care about, you know, cooking. Which makes sense considering Forgione is the spawn of a national food icon, Larry Forgione, considered the Godfather of American cuisine.

Marc Forgione

Khe-Yo, a partnership with long time executive chef Soulayphet Schwader (and, apparently, New York's only restaurant specializing in Laotian food) opened this summer. In September he unveiled maybe his most ambitious restaurant yet, the Tribeca location of American Cut. Where his first restaurant has a rough hewn neighborhood feel (in his glowing New York Times review, Sam Sifton described RMF as "a model neighborhood restaurant in a neighborhood that has no shortage of them"), the American Cut dining room, notes Eater, "would not be out of place in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby."

Next up: "my first foray into delivering food to people who are not in the restaurant," Forgione says of the recent launch of Batch 22. It's a packaged version of the Bloody Mary served at RMF. (The name? It took 22 back and forth tweaks of the recipe for the team to get the bottled mix exactly right.)

Recently, we spent some time in RMF in Tribeca talking to the chef about creating food and restaurant experiences. He talked about his approach to "fine dining without the bullshit," about mixing the familiar with the innovative, his famous chili lobster, and about why he's still in the kitchen. About that last bit he says: "I would describe service for me almost like meditation. People say I can’t believe you’re actually here. This is where I should be. Right now it’s what keeps me going."

Watch the video below for more.

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