September 2018 brings the 8th Annual Diner en Blanc back to New York City. This year there is a new chef taking the helm, Michelin Starred Chef, Marc Forgione.
Chef Marc Forgione is the chef/owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione and American Cut and is the co-owner/partner of Khe-Yo. Chef Forgione began his career at the age of 16, joining his father, Larry Forgione (a culinary legend who revolutionized American-style cooking in the ’70s and ’80s), in the kitchen at An American Place.
Forgione opted for a traditional four-year education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he graduated from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He spent his summers working the line at restaurants such as Above in New York, with acclaimed chef Kazuto Matsusaka. These stints would lay the groundwork for Forgione’s post-collegiate toils, again alongside his father at An American Place and later under Patricia Yeo at AZ.
Michelin Starred Forgione – Diner en Blanc
In an effort to diversify his experience, Forgione left for France, where he secured a series of humble posts under Michel Guerard in Eugenie Les Bains and worked at three of the region’s finest restaurants, Le Pres D’Eugenie, Ferme aux Grives, and Le Cuisine Minceur. Upon his return to New York, Forgione promptly reunited with Tourondel, who invited the now seasoned chef to serve as chef de cuisine at BLT Prime.
Forgione was later named corporate chef for the BLT Restaurant Group, a position that enabled him to expand the BLT brand across the country. With Marc Forgione (www.marcforgione.com), formerly known as Forge, Forgione’s first restaurant, he has created an approachable place “that people walk by and are compelled to enter and where the ingredients are the star.” Restaurant Marc Forgione was awarded its first Michelin star in 2010.
DTM – First, Chef we’re so excited that you are going to be involved in DEB, how did this come about?
MF – Because white is my favorite color
DTM – How did you feel when you were chosen for this year’s DEB master chef?
MF – Well, I’ve always heard about the dinner and how cool it is. Believe it or not, when I was a kid, I used to love the rave scene and I used to get a kick out of not knowing where we were going until the last minute. So I was definitely excited about being involved this year.
DTM – How long have you’re known about the DEB phenomena?
MF – A couple years
DTM – Can you share little morsel as to what you are planning for this special evening? Who on your team will you be calling on for help?
MF – I was inspired by the color white (obviously), by New York City (which is where I’m born and raised). And recently I went to Sri Lanka for my honeymoon so I used that as inspiration for the vegetarian based box.
DTM – We are extremely familiar with your work and was honored to feature you in our 2013 issue of Downtown Magazine, over the years we have witnessed your work and watched you prepare meals for large parties, how does this compare and how are you planning to prepare and feed the largest dinner party in the world?
MF – I can’t do this without great partners and Great Performances has been a great partner in helping us execute this menu.
DTM – If you had the opportunity to choose the location, where would you like to see this year’s NYC DEB?
MF – If there was a rooftop big enough to hold that many people that would be cool. Or maybe we can shut down the Brooklyn Bridge?
“Believe it or not, when I was a kid, I used to love the rave scene”
DTM – Have you ever attended DEB? Will you and or any of your friends/family be attending DEB this year?
MF – Unfortunately, I have never attended in the past and yes I’m hoping some of my friends and family will be able to join me.
DTM – I believe you still carry the title of being the youngest chef to win The Next Iron Chef, does this title still resonate with you?
MF – Yeah, I think it’s something I’ll always be proud of. However, it also reminds me of how old I’m getting LOL.
DTM – Any news you’d like to break during this interview with Downtown Magazine?
MF – This has been the year of milestones. I couldn’t be more proud of my downtown restaurants – Restaurant Marc Forgione just turned 10 in June and Khe-yo and American Cut Tribeca are 5 this summer. In today’s risky climate in the restaurant world, there are no small feats!
About Diner en Blanc
At the last minute, the secret location is revealed to thousands of friends who have all been patiently waiting to learn where “Dîner en Blanc” will take place. Thousands of people dressed all in white and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.
Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream…