How Marc Forgione's Cookbook Will Make You a Better Cook
All photos by Evan Sung, courtesy Haughton Mifflin Harcourt Sweet Corn Ravioli with Lobster
Publishers love to send us cookbooks here at Fork in the Road, and often those books come straight from the chefs at some of New York's best restaurants. So we decided to share the love, and each week, we'll feature a new book, a recipe, and a few thoughts on cooking from the authors. Check back every Tuesday for a new book.
Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories From the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant By Marc Forgione, with Olga Massov, 432 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40
In 2008, just as the nation hurled headlong into black financial abyss, Marc Forgione readied to open a fine dining restaurant in Tribeca. At the center of a nationwide shitstorm, where corporate accounts were being trimmed faster than a fidgety child's bangs, Forgione and company were serving $40 steaks and $20 appetizers to a shaken crowd downtown at precisely the wrong moment. "We needed to really figure out who we were as people, nevermind as restaurateurs, but as people, how the hell to survive this," Forgione says.
But against the recessional red tide, the restaurant survived, grew, and spawned offspring: two steakhouses, a modern Laotian kitchen, TV appearances, international fame, and, as of yesterday, a cookbook.
"Do not be put off by the seemingly complicated or long recipes," the book advises early on. "This book is meant to be cooked from." And, as Forgione pointed out in a recent conversation, it will make you a better cook. In it are recipes for dishes -- everything from braised veal cheeks to red beet ravioli and seasonal sangrias -- but also instructions on technique, sourcing, equipment, and timing, all carefully broken down to be clear and accessible to the everyday cook, although most of the dishes, and their requisite ingredients, are elevated above a weekday dinner. Most, but not all. And, unlike many cookbooks, each "dish" is a meal in itself; multiple components made to be plated together. So you can bring the restaurant home.
On the next page, we chat with the chef about kona kampachi tartare, growing up Forgione, and how NYC dining has changed in his lifetime.