Larry Forgione

Born and raised on Long Island, Larry Forgione spent childhood summers on his grandmother’s farm eating tasty chickens and freshly harvested, perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables. Those memories would eventually shape his career as chef: known as the “godfather of American cuisine” he outright rejected the pre-fab “polyester food” sold in many supermarkets and served in many restaurants. He committed himself to using only domestic ingredients and cultivated a supply from small farmers, purveyors and foragers. Forgione started the first “free range” chicken farm in 1980 in Warwick, New York, and coined that very term. He had found his mission: to support the best of America’s harvest. Obsessed with the celebration of Americana, he opened An American Place, where his pan-seared buffalo steaks, terrine of American caviars, and old-fashioned banana betty awed the city’s Europhile foodies, earning him three stars from the New York Times. “Cooking American” had become a source of national pride. Forgione has written two cookbooks and has won several James Beard and CIA awards. Forgione, Alice Waters and the legendary James Beard (his friend and disciple) spearheaded the regional food movement that seeks to promote each area’s heritage and seasonal specialties. As a result, Americans were introduced to such home-grown novelties as morels, black walnuts, wild rice, venison, quail, monkfish, mahi-mahi, and the endless varieties of American oysters.