Babes, Beers and Barbeques with Marc Forgione

By Vanessa Butler

Our favorite Iron Chef talks with us about three of our favorite things: babes, beers and barbeques.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Chef Larry Forgione, Marc Forgione began his restaurant career in 2008 by opening his own restaurant, which bore his name. Two years later Forgione began raking in highly acclaimed awards and earned himself a Michelin star for three consecutive years. His restaurant was also recognized with Michelin cocktail symbols for those years, making him the youngest chef to receive these honors. Since then, he’s gone on to star on one of the biggest food shows, is set to release a private label wine, as well as bottling his delicious Bloody Marys, and has opened his second restaurant in Atlantic City, American Cut. Forgione is about glamour, living life to the fullest and food; the obvious choice as the chef to speak to. You seem to be the perfect guy to ask. How do you grill the perfect steak on the BBQ without overdoing the marinade?

Marc Forgione: For me, the best steak on the grill needs two things: big flaky salt (such as Maldon) and a pepper blend called Pierre Poivre (from La Boîte à Epice). The steak should only be moved four times the entire process of cooking: rotate, flip once, rotate, and take off the grill. Number one rule with grilling: Don’t play with your meat. Aside from your new Bloody Marys, which we hear are to die for, you have been recognized by Michelin for your cocktails three years in a row as well. When you’re cooking up a storm in the great outdoors, what’s your drink of choice?

Forgione: Miller High Life, but as of late, my favorite cocktails are Old-Fashioneds and Sazeracs. Every young successful chef has a few crazy stories about working in the kitchen. Care to indulge us in your wildest?

Forgione: I was invited to be the guest chef in a different country, which will remain nameless. I was asked to prepare a tasting menu; however, when I arrived, I was shown a line that consisted of a plancha and two fryers, and we were supposed to put 350 four-course tasting menus out of this kitchen 48 hours from when we arrived. Everything had to be made from scratch (butcher, stocks, ice cream, etc.). When service started we also realized that there were no cooking utensils (i.e., tongs, spatulas, towels). Long story short, I was using a paper towel to get the pans out of the ovens and cooking foie gras, halibut and chicken all on the same plancha. Between me and my sous chefs, we served 350 tasting menus over two days on equipment that probably wouldn’t even be used in someone’s home kitchen. It was loco. Have you ever had the chance to work alongside one of your idols?

Forgione: In the last two years, I have been very blessed and been able to work alongside many of the chefs that I used to look up to from afar. It’s always a humbling and exciting experience to be at these events with some of the chefs who have changed the culinary world. Do you remember your first encounter with Playboy?

Forgione: I do, actually. I was in fifth grade and we were hiding behind the garage smoking our first cigarettes when my buddy said that he found a Playboy under his dad’s bed. What kind of music do you listen to while cooking?

Forgione: The soundtrack really depends on the day. We listen to everything from Pearl Jam to Led Zeppelin to Jay-Z…and even a little pop music makes an appearance from time to time. Nothing against it, but we never listen to country music. If you could only pick two, which would you choose: A posse of Playmates, beer or the recipe for the perfect steak.

Forgione: I would marinate the steaks in the beer and eat them with the posse of Playmates. What was the most stressful dish you made on Iron Chef?

Forgione: The buffet challenge on The Next Iron Chef. We had to create five different buffet items for 35 people by ourselves and we had to set up the tables as well…all in three hours. To make matters worse, halfway through the battle, as I was getting something out of the oven, my pants ripped (it’s an old superstition I have, but on important days, I actually go commando). If you could swap food shows with any other chef, which one would it be?

Forgione: Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations. Hey Anthony, if you’re reading and thinking of retiring, please don’t hesitate to call. Big fan.


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