We have to ask: What did your Dad think about your run on the show?
This is the honest truth: He hasn’t seen a single episode yet. He hasn't not watched on purpose ... he's been in St. Louis the whole time staying at a hotel, he has a restaurant there. And they don't have the Food Network in the hotel. My family got to come to Kitchen Stadium to watch the final battle, so he was there. But they kicked them all out for the judging.
How was your first official battle in Kitchen Stadium as an Iron Chef? Chef Forgione's first battle will air on Sunday, November 28 at 9pm/8c.
I did two battles. One was chock full of, I don't know if conspiracy is the right word, but, my old boss and one of my mentors, Laurent Tourondel [of the BLT restaurants], was a judge. The sous-chef of the guy I was battling was the old chef de cuisine of BLT Market. Conspiracy is a heavy word, but it was just all these things to happen at once, for the first battle! It was fun. I love the competition. My favorite part other than meeting all those guys is the competition. Chefs don't usually get to say, "Let's see who's better today." There’s no chance to do that in this business other than Iron Chef.
Do you know any of the Iron Chefs on a personal level? Have you gotten advice from them about what you’re getting into?
I've met Bobby a couple times. I worked with Patricia Yeo and she's one of his protégés. The other guys, I’d never met before. Michael Symon has kind of taken me under his wing so far. I haven’t heard from the other guys, but I think that’s because it’s not official yet! (At the time of this interview, the finale had not aired.)
For more about Chef Forgione, check out our behind-the-scenes tour of his New York City restaurant kitchen.