gramercy tavern

Next Iron Chef 3 Finale – Outcome

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Canora vs. Forgione for the title Next Iron Chef. If you want informaNIC Finaletion on the combatants click HERE. If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

The judges for Battle: Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast were Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar plus Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Bobby Flay and Morimoto.

Congratulations to the Next Iron Chef. . .

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Marc Forgione

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Did you miss an episode of NIC because you were helping count write-in votes in Alaska?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).

Be sure to check out new Iron Chef Marc Forgione in his first title defense next Sunday night against Chef RJ Cooper.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my recent interview with the newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione HERE.

Photo courtesy of the Food Network.

Next Iron Chef 3 Finale

Well it is finally here.  The Next Iron Chef 3 finale is this week and when the dust settles a new Iron Chef will join the “veritable pantheon” of Kitchen Stadium.  The two chefs vying for this lofty title are Marco Canora and Marc Forgione.  Both are extremely talented chefs but only one can be the Next Iron Chef.

Marco CanoraMarco Canora (Hearth, Terroir, and Terroir TriBeca all in New York) – he first hit the New York scene back in 1996 as a line cook at renowned Gramercy Tavern where he flourished under the mentoring of Tom Colicchio.  Colicchio helped Chef Marco earn a stint working with famed Italian chef Fabio Picchiand at his famous Cibreo in Florence.  Canora has since made a name for himself by creating innovative and healthy Italian cuisine.  Canora’s first cookbook Salt to Taste: The Keys To Confident, Delicious Cooking (available at amazon) was nominated for a James Beard Award.

All through the contest Marco has put out consistently innovative food that was both creative and inspired – his cooking is truly Iron Chef caliber.  The negative’s on Canora’s NIC appearance have been his dishonorable tactics and constant whining.  However, television is a fickle bitch and it is likely that the producers could have used equally unflattering footage on all of the chefs.  I can honestly say that I would love to try his food and it is likely that he is a very likable person.  I have no doubt that he’d be a fun guy to grab a beer with.  After all it is unfair to judge the whole of a person’s character based solely on a few hours of footage that may have been selected specifically to make him look like a bad guy.

Marc ForgioneMarc Forgione (Marc Forgione in New York) – the son of the “godfather of American cuisine” Chef Larry Forgione.  The younger Forgione has long been known has Larry’s son but that ended eight weeks ago when NIC began airing.  Today if you Google “Chef Forgione” the first page of results yields only one article about Larry and the rest are about his talented son.

Marc’s forte is New American cuisine of which Gael Greene says, “Not a molecular burp anywhere.  Just real food most food-obsessed New Yorkers want to eat.”  High praise from a high priestess of haute cuisine.  Though he began cooking professionally at age 16 with his famous father, Marc also did some time working with Michel Guerard in Eugenie les Bains, Patricia Yeo at AZ and Pazo, Laurent Tourondel at BLT Steak and with Puck disciple Kazuto Matsusaka .  He also graduated from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at UMASS Amherst.

Throughout the contest Marc has offered some of the most creative dishes of the season.  Not only is his food Iron Chef worthy but he has a firm respect for what an Iron Chef should be.  The biggest complaint that people have had about Forgione is that his personality isn’t exciting but that critique comes from reality TV buffs not foodies.  That’s what is great about Iron Chef, it isn’t about personalities, it’s about food.  If you want a cooking contest where food is merely an after thought then might I suggest Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen.  An Iron Chef doesn’t need to be charismatic or controversial; an Iron Chef should be innovative with a Bushido-like sense of honor.

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The judges for Battle: Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast were Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar plus Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, and Morimoto.

Click HERE for the outcome.

Have you missed an episode of NIC because you were caught up in an epic game of Jenga?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my recent interview with Marc Forgione HERE.

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10 Most Influential Chefs Part 1.

This is a ranking of the chefs I feel have had the greatest influence on the American culinary scene.  When the idea of ranking the 10 most influential chefs originally came to me the first thing I had to do was set out a criteria for my ranking.  Here’s what I asked myself:

  • Have they influenced younger chefs?
  • Have they had an influence on the American table?
  • Have they influenced the US dining scene?
  • Have they influenced home cooks?
  • Have they influenced me?

As with any of these types of lists debate will rage.  I invite, nay!  I implore you to use the comments section to offer your own critiques and substitutions.  Let’s get started shall we?

Michael Symon10. Michael Symon (Lola, Lolita, Bar Symon and The B Spot all in Ohio and Roast in Detroit).  The first controversial entry?  Before you go off thinking I’m nuts check this out.  In 2006 Symon opened Parea next door to Gramercy Tavern in New York City.  Though professional critics liked it (Bruni gave it 2 stars) the cynical New York diners said that Symon wasn’t ready for New York so it closed a year later.  The reality isn’t that Symon wasn’t ready for New York but rather New York wasn’t ready for Symon.  Right now virtually every New York restaurant is exploring the pig – pigs feet, pork belly, chocolate covered bacon – all of it is thanks to Chef Michael Symon.  Read my exclusive interview with Chef Symon HERE.

James Beard9. James Beard (Hors d’Oeuvre, Inc. catering in New York, Hors D’Oeuvre and Canapés, Running Press). Julia Child dubbed Beard the “Dean of American Gastronomy” for introducing traditional French cuisine to a post WWII America.  He is the namesake of the James Beard Foundation as well as the first celebrity chef having hosted the first cooking show in television history.  Beard established and taught at The James Beard Cooking School (New York City and Seaside, Oregon) and he, more than anyone else, is responsible for creating the New York fine dining scene.  Frankly, Chef James Beard should be much higher on this list.  Even though professionals grasp his importance, unfortunately most home cooks are unaware of his place in culinary history.  Chef Beard left us in 1985 but his mark is firmly affixed to every great meal in America.  Beard’s grounding breaking 1940 cookbook Hors D’Oeuvre and Canapés is still available at amazon.com.

Graham Kerr8. Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet, The Graham Kerr Show and countless other TV shows and cookbooks).  Kerr was the third celebrity chef in American history following chronologically behind James Beard and Julia Child but at his peek he was more famous than his contemporaries by a country mile.  His story is interesting, a Scot cooking French cuisine who became famous in New Zealand before coming to the New World to become a star (read more HERE).  Kerr’s jovial personality made him the perfect cooking show host because you didn’t have to care about food to be entertained.  Weight Watchers, in an amazing stroke of hypocrisy, once proclaimed Kerr “public enemy number one” for his high fat, high calorie French cuisine.  Today Chef Graham Kerr is known for reinventing his cooking style with his Mini-Max approach – minimize the fat and calories and maximize the flavor while Weight Watchers is the poster child for overly processed Frakenfoods.

Bobby Flay7. Bobby Flay (Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, New York City, and in The Bahamas; Bar Americain in New York City and Uncasville, Connecticut; Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Bobby’s Burger Palace – a regional chain).  Another controversial pick?  Hardly.  Whether you like Bobby Flay or hate him you know who he is and what he does.  He was one of the first Food Network hires.  He was the executive chef of a popular NYC restaurant at age 19.  He was the top graduate in the first class ever at New York’s esteemed French Culinary Institute.  He pioneered the Spanish/tapas craze.  All noteworthy credentials but he makes the list because Flay has done more with Southwestern cuisine than anyone else.  Quite honestly Southwestern maybe the culmination of 230+ years of American food.  It employees the techniques of French cuisine with Southern and Tex-Mex along with a strong native American influence as well.  It’s bold, innovative flavors are the very embodiment of the American spirit and there is no finer practitioner than Chef Bobby Flay.  For more on Flay check out my exclusive interview done in 2007.

Emeril Legasse6. Emeril Legasse (Emeril’s Chop House and BAM in Bethlehem, PA, Emeril’s in Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami Beach and New Orleans, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop in Orlando, NOLA in New Orleans,  Delmonico in New Orleans and Las Vegas, Table 10 and Lagasse’s Stadium in Las Vegas).  Legasse has his fair share of haters and people who believe that he is more character than chef.  However, Emeril is as beloved a chef as this nation has ever seen.  He has set the standard for how a cheflebrity should conduct business, fair but firm.  He takes care of his people ( check out his post-Katrina efforts sometime) and he truly is an amazing chef.  Keep in mind that he convinced the famed Brannan family of New Orleans to turn over the reigns of the Commander’s Palace after Paul Prudhomme left to open K-Paul’s to an unknown Yankee chef from Fall River, MA.  That turned out OK didn’t it?  But the main reason that Emeril makes the cut is because of his TV work.  To put it bluntly the success of Food Network is solely attributed to Legasse’s show Emeril Live which literally put the network on the national radar.  It made the network and his work on the show turned a generation of drive-thru devotees into home cooks.  That is substantial by anyone’s criteria.  Without Chef Emeril Legasse there might not be a Food Network today.

There’s the first half of my list of the 10 Most Influential Chefs.  Check HERE for the top 5 chefs.

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Interview with Tom Colicchio

Charlie Rose sits down with cheflebrity and author of Think Like a Chef Tom Colicchio:

Think Like a Chef

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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