Pop taught 'em well
Being “a chip off the old block” is never easy, especially when the old block happens to be a famous chef/restaurateur. In honor of Father’s Day Sunday, we spoke with two restaurant offspring.
Chef Marc Forgione of Marc Forgione restaurant in TriBeCa, son of Larry Forgione, who’s often called “the godfather of American cooking.”
What’s it like to have a well-known chef for a father?
I didn’t get to see him much because he was always working. I was a little upset as I child because I didn’t get it, but now I get it.
Did you always want to be a chef like your father?
I’ve always liked cooking. I remember being 7 or 8 years old trying to flip a burger in the pan. … For about a year or two I tried to figure out if there is something else out there for me, and in my spare time I was cooking for fun. So why run away from something that you are good at and that you love?
How did your father influence how you cook?
Whenever he cooks at home, it’s always ingredients first, and that’s something that I’ve definitely taken from him.
Did you ever work with him?
I worked with him when I was 21. I trained at his [St. Louis] restaurant, American Place when I was a kid; I spent my summer working there. But once I got older, I had to separate myself and prove my own skills in the kitchen.
Are there any dishes on your menu inspired by him?
Almost every day my father inspires me in some way, shape, or form. Our styles are very different but they come from the same place. I make classic dishes (such as Caesar Salad, Hangtown Fries and Baked Clams) from 20 or 30 years ago and put a modern spin on them.
What TV dad does your dad most resemble?
Rob Reiner…It’s scary!
What's your favorite dish created by you dad?
Asparagus in Ambush with Ozark Country Ham and Crowley Cheese
Restaurateur Marisa May, 38, who runs SD26 with her father, Tony May. Dad oversaw the Rainbow Room and San Domenico.
Did you always want to be in the same business as your dad?
In some way I always knew I would end up in the restaurant business. I love food, and I love people. A lot of my energy and drive comes from meeting all of the people I do everyday in the restaurant.
What’s the best piece of advice your dad gave you?
He taught me that communication is the key -- good or bad. He is a straight-forward and very fair person … He also taught me to never be passive aggressive and to always put everything in writing.
How about dealing with difficult customers?
He always tells me to kill them with kindness and charm them with my cute Italian-American smile!
What celeb dad does your father most resemble?
Physically speaking, my dad most resembles a mix of James Caan and Tony Bennett – otherwise, my dad is one of a kind.