Well, one New York chef is giving thanks for becoming “The Next Iron Chef.”
In the third season finale of the Food Network reality competition show, Chef Marc Forgione out-cooked his competitor Chef Marco Canora in the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, which was all about honoring the American tradition of Thanksgiving.
The secret ingredients: White pekin duck, Heritage turkeys, venison and Maine lobster.
As Chef Canora has been throughout the season, he’s all about a more literal interpretation of honoring the ingredients/challenge. There’s absolutely no way he’s doing a Thanksgiving challenge without turkey.
Chef Forgione, on the other hand, is taking it a step further. He says in the 1600s, the first Thanksgiving did not serve turkey. So his interpretation is more historical and less about turkey and cranberry sauce.
- Roasted fennel soup with butter-poached lobster, pumpkin pickle
- Pumpkin risotto topped with amaretti biscuits
- Turkey plate with porcini stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce puree
- Pinwheel of roasted venison with rosemary, juniper and pistachios stuffing and corn sformato cake
- Pecan tart with cranberry sorbet, pumpkin confit
Looks-wise, Canora didn’t do the best, especially with the offputting color of his fennel soup. His taste combinations got more criticism though, but not for lack of flavor. Everyone loved the dessert. Consistency throughout the competition was mentioned.
- Seafood harvest soup – Clam chowder with mussels, cod and sweet potatoes
- Duck sausage wrapped in swiss chard with cornbread crouton
- Butter-poached lobster with smoked lobster shell and sunchoke and spinach puree
- Chestnut-stuffed venison with raisin and butternut squash and lemon confit puree
- Inside out plum cobbler with vanilla ice cream and candied walnuts
Although all the judges acknowledge he took a huge risk going turkey-less, they were well satisfied by the meal and had very little to say by way of criticism. The flavors were bold, plating attractive, and execution was simple, smart and tasty.
In the end, even though his competition talked turkey, Chef Forgione ascended to the podium as the next Iron Chef after expressing shock at the announcement.
“My dad (Chef Larry Forgione) is very proud of me today,” he said, even as he made a name for himself.
Are you satisfied with the verdict? Would you like a turkey-less Thanksgiving?
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Photo credit: Food Network