Marc “Forge” Forgione
Chef Marc “Forge” Forgione began his career at the age of 16, joining his father, Larry Forgione (a culinary legend who revolutionized American-style cooking in the ’70s and ’80s), in the kitchen at An American Place. Marc fully embraced his father’s livelihood and has built on his unique culinary foundation to carve out an identity of his own.
Marc opted for a traditional four-year education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he graduated from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He spent his summers working the line at restaurants such as Above in New York, with acclaimed chef Kazuto Matsusaka. These stints would lay the groundwork for Marc’s post-collegiate toils, again alongside his father at An American Place and later under Patricia Yeo at AZ. When Yeo and celebrated chef Pino Maffeo opened Pazo, they took Marc along to serve as sous chef at the short-lived eatery. When Laurent Tourondel set out to develop his flagship, BLT Steak, he recruited Marc as his sous chef.
In an effort to diversify his experience, Marc left for France, where he secured a series of humble posts under Michel Guerard in Eugenie les Bains. Working at three of the region’s finest restaurants, Le Pres D’Eugenie, Ferme aux Grives and Le Cuisine Minceur, Marc absorbed the nuances of classic French techniques and further developed what had already become a meaningful relationship with ingredients.
When he returned to New York, Marc promptly reunited with Tourondel, who invited the now seasoned chef to serve as chef de cuisine at BLT Prime. The restaurant would go on to earn sterling accolades from relevant publications nationwide, culminating in a 27 in the Zagat Guide, making it the highest-ranking steakhouse in the history of New York City. Following his role as chef de cuisine, Marc was named corporate chef for the BLT Restaurant Group, a position that enabled him to develop recipes and maintain the quality of the BLT brand as it went on to include more restaurants across the country. Marc has played a key role in the openings of BLT Fish and BLT Market, as well as the Washington, D.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Dallas locations of BLT Steak.
With Marc Forgione, originally known as his nickname, he has created an approachable place with partner Christopher Blumlo “that people walk by and are compelled to enter and where the ingredients are the star.” Marc was most recently coveted with a Michelin star in the 2010 guide, making him the youngest American-born chef/owner to receive the honor. The restaurant also earned the distinction of a two-star New York Times review, was named “Key Newcomer” by Zagat Guide 2009, “Top 25 Restaurants in NYC” by Modern Luxury magazine and “All Star Eatery” by Forbes magazine. Marc Forgione was awarded “Star Chefs Rising Star of the Year Award 2010″; named “Rising Star 2008″ from Restaurant Hospitality magazine and mentioned “New Formalist” by Esquire magazine in 2008.In 2010 he was crowned the winner of the Next Iron Chef TV show on The Food Network. Read Chef Forgione’s Iron Chef journal on the Food Network website by click here .
As managing partner of Marc Forgione, Christopher Blumlo comes armed with ten years of successful food service experience and an undeniable passion for creating distinctive dining experiences.
Blumlo graduated from University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration. After school, he moved to New York where he joined the team at Restaurant Associates, where he had the opportunity oversee the corporate dining programs at both BMG and Condé Nast, before moving over to the restaurant division. He was the dining room manager at both Naples 45 and the Rock Center Summer Garden.
Blumlo briefly entertained his entrepreneurial musings when he co-founded two wireless companies in New York, before reentering food service in 2002 with the formidable industry giant ARAMARK, as the Assistant General Manager at the Mets’ Shea Stadium. His time there was characterized by an emphasis on operations, customer service, business development, design and project management. When he was promoted to the Director of Operations, he was awarded two Operational Awards of Excellence in 2004 and again in 2006. In this role, he oversaw 25 managers, 1500 employees and annual revenues exceeding $40 million a year. In 2005, Blumlo was given the additional responsibility of overseeing the hospitality development at the Mets’ new state of the art stadium, Citifield. As the lead ARAMARK consultant on the project, Blumlo spent twelve months collaborating on the design and development of every food, beverage and merchandise outlet at the stadium, including restaurants, luxury suites, catering and specialty food concepts. Opened in the Spring of 2009, the stadium set a new standard in the way food is enjoyed at sporting events. Blumlo is proud to have been so integrally involved in facilitating this new culinary precedent.
In June 2008 he opened Restaurant Marc Forgione in TriBeCa, which represented a welcomed return to more intimate and hands-on involvement in food service. He has loved to watch the restaurant turn into ”the kind of place that you would want to go with your friends and family for an extraordinary meal in a relaxed, neighborhood setting.” The restaurant was coveted with a Michelin star in 2010 and 2011, and also earned the distinction of a two-star New York Times review in October of 2010. In its first two years, Marc Forgione was named “Key Newcomer” by Zagat Guide 2009, “Top 25 Restaurants in NYC” by Modern Luxury magazine and “All Star Eatery” by Forbes magazine (2008, 2009, 2010) For Blumlo and partner Forgione, their restaurant was the culmination of vast professional experience, their passion for hospitality and the opportunity to define themselves as important players in the New York restaurant scene.
GM / Sommelier
In June 2008 when Restaurant Marc Forgione opened in New York, Matthew Conway was brought in to create a beverage program that articulated the restaurant’s approach to fine dining. As the General Manager and Sommelier, Conway offered an intuitive, inventive and carefully constructed selection of approachable wines to compliment Forgione’s dishes. Like Forgione, Conway trained professionally in France and their dual commitment to world-class service is felt from the moment guests walk into the dining room.
Conway’s work at the Restaurant has been recognized with several industry accolades. Most recently he earned the restaurant a place on the coveted 2012 Wine Enthusiast “100 Best Wine Restaurants in America” list. While Marc Forgione earned the restaurant a Michelin star in the 2010, 2011, 2012 guides, Conway’s work with their cocktail program was also noted by earning the restaurant consecutive Michelin cocktail symbols for each of those years. During his work at Forgione, Conway was asked to participate in a number of prestigious industry events including serving as a judge at the American Sommelier’s “Best Sommelier in America” competition and was selected to serve as a sommelier at the James Beard Awards. He worked with Krug to create their first ever “Life Time Achievement Award” honoring Roger Dagorn and hosted the award ceremony at Restaurant Marc Forgione. In the fall of 2011, he crafted along with Chef Forgione and Winemaker Jamey Whetstone, the first “Coast to Coast” charity event – a one of a kind dinner and wine pairing that raised over $30,000 for Feeding America and attracted top chefs in New York City and winemakers from California.
Prior to Forgione, Conway moved to New York in 2004 to attend the American Sommelier Association, where he completed the 24-week course in Viticulture and Vinification. In March 2005, Conway was recommended to Gray Kunz from Andrew Bell, President and CEO of the ASA, to be hired as Café Gray’s Sommelier, working alongside renowned Wine Director Alexander Adlgasser and General Manager Richard Hollocou. Upon Adlgasser’s departure, Conway was named Beverage Director where he worked alongside Chef Kunz for over three years, during this time he helped open Kunz’s second New York venture Grayz.
In the summer of 2010 Conway was asked to join the prestigious Sommelier team at Taillevent in Paris. With Chef Forgione’s blessing he accepted and became only the third American Sommelier to complete the three-month training program in the restaurants storied 65-year existence. During his three-month stay he worked with one of the largest wine cellars in the world while learning the intimate details of traditional French, three Michelin star service.
In addition to his running his own wine focused website, UnderRipe.com, Conway is also a guest blogger at Lot18 and a regular contributor for The Daily Meal. He has previously contributed articles about his creative cocktails and wine selections featured in Sante, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit among others. Conway was pleased to accept his position as the newest member on the Sommelier Journal Editorial Advisory Board where he’ll provide noted expertise on the world of wine as well as on Zagat’s New York City 2012 “30 Under 30” list, an honor representing the next generation of culinary greatness in New York City.
Friends and Partners