Welcome back to “10 Dishes,” a video series in which we head behind the scenes with 10 NYC chefs to hear the stories behind their signature dishes.
Marc Forgione will tell you that he had a pretty normal childhood in all aspects but one: He ate like an adult from a pretty early age. While other kids were feasting on McNuggets, he was tucking into soft-shelled crabs.
Those are the perks of growing up with Larry Forgione, the “Godfather of American Cuisine,” as a father. Often, Marc could be found at his dad’s seminal Tribeca restaurant, An American Place, or following him to events where he cooked alongside other big-name chefs. It was at one such event where he encountered “Asparagus in Ambush”:
The first time I wore a tuxedo was at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, where my father was cooking at an event. He made a version of one of James Beard’s favorite hors d’oeuvres, Asparagus in Ambush—asparagus spears, béchamel, and hollowed-out bread. My dad was cooking, I was eating it by myself, wearing this fucking tuxedo with a baby-blue bow tie, and it shocked me. I didn’t know food could taste like this.
At his restaurants Marc Forgione and American Cut, the Iron Chef likes to the revive the dish in different forms each spring, sometimes turning it into a pasta or pimping it out with other seasonal ingredients like ramps and morels.
Watch the video above to see Forgione recount the “aha” moment of eating the perfect dish, then realizing that it had been cooked by his dad.