'The Next Iron Chef' recap: The son also rises
Marc Forgione, the chef-owner of Marc Forgione in New York, comes with quite the pedigree. He is the son of Larry Forgione, whom some have dubbed the “godfather of New American cuisine.” And Marc Forgione recently received his second Michelin star in the 2011 guide, said to make him the youngest American-born chef and owner to receive the honor in consecutive years.
Clearly, he can cook. And he cooked the meal of his life against chef Marco Canora to land "the culinary world's biggest prize."
The pair started out as part of the party of 10 who embarked on the quest to become the next Iron Chef and bested a field that included celebuchef Ming Tsai, who many (like me) considered to be the inevitable frontrunner. But Forgione and Canora earned the right to be the last two standing. The final battle to find a "new kitchen warrior" was perfectly themed: They had 60 minutes to prepare a five-course Thanksgiving dinner. Their ingredients included turkey, venison, duck and lobster.
Canora chose the traditional, reaching for the turkey. Forgione, who held himself out as a bit of a Thanksgiving expert, said he was actually going the traditional route by not choosing turkey. (He said venison, not turkey, was actually served at the first Thanksgiving dinner.)
After tasting all the dishes and gathering input from Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon, the wisdom of the judging panel summed it up this way: Canora's consistent soulfulness versus Forgione's risk-taking creativity and flashes of brilliance.
That's all well and good. But do you demand more from your Iron Chef?
There is so much pagentry that surrounds the Iron Chef mythology, and nowhere in all that verbal razzmatazz do you hear things like "our pantheon of 'consistent' chefs" or "chefs who show flashes of brilliance." Take Morimoto, who is arguably the most revered Iron Chef of them all. There is only one way to describe him: consistently brilliant.
Food Network honcho Bob Tuschman said, "We are thrilled to welcome chef Marc Forgione to our legendary team of Iron Chefs and can’t wait to see the unique flair he brings to Kitchen Stadium. His in-depth knowledge of American cuisine, culinary precision and calm focus in the kitchen will certainly add a new layer to the Chairman’s stellar group."
As we wrap up Season 3 of "The Next Iron Chef" -- and, presumably, there will be a Season 4, and a Season 5 and a Season 6 ... -- what do you think? Is the mohawk-ed one the best next Iron Chef? Did he deserve to beat Canora? And will you look forward to watching him compete?
-- Rene Lynch
twitter / renelynch
Photo: Marc Forgione. Credit: Food Network