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Marc Forgione on Resilience in the Face of Adversity

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About this episode

In this episode of The meez podcast, host Josh Sharkey interviews acclaimed Michelin star chef Marc Forgione, winner of the Next Iron Chef and owner of Respect Hospitality Group (Peasant, Restaurant Marc Forgione, One Fifth). The two delve into Marc's culinary journey, highlighting his resilience in the face of adversity and the valuable lessons he has learned along the way.

Marc is renowned for his ability to reimagine historic spaces and his talent for creating a harmonious blend of playful and cerebral food. Being the son of renowned chef Larry Forgione, Marc had to navigate the expectations and comparisons that come with such a legacy. Plus, face additional obstacles like the financial crisis and the recent pandemic. 

Despite these setbacks, Marc shares his philosophy of embracing adversity, referring to it as "Forge luck." This mindset has allowed him to thrive and achieve success in the competitive culinary industry.

The episode explores the transformative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Marc's outlook. Both Marc and Josh discuss how the experience has reshaped their priorities and provided them with a fresh perspective on problem-solving and decision-making.

Marc sheds light on his humble upbringing, dispelling misconceptions about his success being handed to him. He recounts impulsive decisions that have shaped his career, such as taking over the iconic Peasant restaurant and facing skepticism from regulars. The importance of staying true to their culinary vision and making bold choices emerges as a recurring theme in their conversation.

The episode concludes with Marc reflecting on his recent accomplishments and ongoing challenges. He shares a personal story of feeling accomplished and deserving, only to be confronted with yet another problem. This highlights the resilience and adaptability required to thrive in the culinary industry. Marc emphasizes the callouses he has developed from his experiences, symbolizing the toughness necessary to overcome obstacles.

Overall, the episode provides a compelling exploration of Marc Forgione's journey as a chef. It showcases his unwavering determination in the face of adversity. Listeners are left with a deeper understanding of Marc's resilience, his commitment to his craft, and the enduring lessons he has learned throughout his remarkable career.

Where to find Marc Forgione: 

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(0:00) The benefits of microdosing

(6:19) What is Forge luck?

(10:14) Putting things in perspective after Covid

(11:44) Growing up as Larry Forgione’s son

(13:30) Taking over Peasant

(16:11) Maintaining consistency across all businesses

(19:39) How have cooks changed over the years?

(24:28) Marc’s process for ideation

(26:42) Becoming a parent and decision making

(30:12) Creating and tweaking dishes

(38:11) How Marc collaborates with his team

(40:03) Earning the right to share

(42:07) Motivation and constructive feedback

(43:59) Why Marc loves historic spaces

(47:17) Walking the walk with Respect Hospitality


Marc Forgione [00:00:00] 

I find that the mushrooms held me falsely. 

Josh Sharkey  [00:00:03] 

So how long have you been doing it for? 

Josh Sharkey  [00:00:05] 

Maybe a year now. Give or take. Like, you know, I took 'em like everybody else in high school and college to like to listen to Rusted Root and dance around the backyard. And like everybody, I think I was having a little kind of PTSD from Covid.

Marc Forgione [00:00:16]:

And you know, speaking of not being able to sleep, like I'm not making this up. I didn't even know what anxiety was. If you've ever had anxiety, you know what I'm talking about. It's like you feel like you're going to kind of throw up all the time. And I had no idea what it was. I thought I was sick. I went to the doctor, she's like, it sounds like anxiety.


Have you ever seen a therapist? And I was like, no. And then I called this lady and within like five minutes, she's like, yeah, it's anxiety. I was like, okay, well what do I do? She's like, well, you talk to me first. Anyway, I do a lot of different things, meditation, you know, all that kind of stuff. Somebody introduced me to mushrooms about a year ago, and I've found that I drink less, and when I say microdose, like I don't take enough.

Josh Sharkey [00:00:52]:

Like 0.1 milligram or something?

Marc Forgione [00:00:54]:

Yeah. I mean even like, I'll just eat like a little piece of a cap. And I'll do it like when I get home, instead of drinking like a bourbon on the rocks after I get home from work. Just eat a little cap. Yeah. And I get a notebook and I start writing ideas, and I did it for about a year and a half, I guess.

Josh Sharkey [00:01:08]: 

I had capsules, so they were really sort of, you know, dialed in into the dosage, but you had to do a macro dose first to really kick in the microdose. So I did 5 grams first, like a serious full-on trip and then laddering up, like 0.1 milligrams up to 0.3, and. It was great for a long time, and then I was just like wired. And then I stopped.

Marc Forgione [00:01:27]:

It could have been the strain too. I found a beautiful strain. I mean, I feel like I'm pushing mushrooms on you, but there's a beautiful strain called Golden Teacher. 

Josh Sharkey [00:01:40]:

Yeah. I didn't realize how many different, you know, varieties there are that have different impacts. I take this thing now like twice a week. I used to take it every day and it actually was, I couldn't sleep at all. It's called Alpha Brain. It's another neurotropic. It's helped a lot. Honestly, I didn't know what stress was. Obviously running restaurants, we always have stress.

Marc Forgione [00:01:54]: 

Right? I just thought it was part of life. I didn't know it was a thing.

Josh Sharkey [00:01:56]:

Yeah. Then once, you know, I've had a couple of things throughout the years that really hit me and I was like, oh shit. Recently, even with Silicon Valley Bank, I don't know if you've heard about that crash, but we had all of our money in that. And so there was a four or five day stretch where I was like, holy shit wow.


That's my business. And the post-traumatic sort of like episode after the day after that was just like, I need to step away. I do fasting. So I used to do intermittent passing for like six years. Now, I've been trying to put on weight, but every three months I do a five day water fast. So just nothing but water for five days and it is by far, unequivocally like the best thing I've ever done for my body.


Like I finished that five day fast and I never feel better. I have so much energy. My body feels incredible. It's also just spiritually, like knowing that you can go that long without food, has all these impacts. Not just sort of physically, but mental fortitude and also just gratefulness. When you don't have food for that long, you start to be really grateful for these little things. So that's been a big help for me because I don't really drink that much anymore. 

Marc Forgione [00:02:57]: 

No, most of us don't think it's natural. Your body just kind of tells you like, look, you can either go that way or you can go this way. It's up to you.

Josh Sharkey [00:03:10]: 

Welcome to The meez Podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world-class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show. 


My guest today is the youngest American born chef ever to win a Michelin star and he's a New York City chef through and through. He was the winner of the Next Iron Chef competition and he's the owner of his namesake restaurant, Marc Forgione, as well as several other New York City institutions like Peasant American Cut and his newest venture, One Fifth.


Marc is an incredible chef and technician, and I always felt that his food somehow always strikes this perfect balance of playful and cerebral, while still being approachable and of course delicious. He has a soft spot for history and has a knack for taking over and re-imagining historic New York City spaces.


Something we didn't really get to talk too much about in the conversation, given his love for a Native American culture, is these vision quests that he goes on to sort of stay in touch with his inner self. Maybe next time, although we did get a chance to dig into psychedelics a little bit, so I guess that counts. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

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