Chef Marc Forgione is a married man.
The restaurateur and Next Iron Chef season three winner tied the knot to his girlfriend of over ten years, Kristen Angelilli, during a destination wedding at the Cap Juluca resort in Anguilla on Nov. 19.
“It was like a fairytale,” Forgione tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It was just perfection.”
Surrounded by 150 of their friends and family, the couple said their vows with a picturesque view of the hills of St. Marteen in the background.
“As soon as I saw Kristen I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” says the chef who owns seven popular restaurants including the Lobster Press in the Pennsy food hall in New York City. “I honestly didn’t get to look around because as soon as we made eye contact, I don’t think I stopped looking into her eyes the whole ceremony.”
The reception followed with a fire ceremony, live music (including an original song sung by the groom) and plenty of dancing. “We called it the bikram wedding,” laughs Forgione. “We didn’t stop dancing or sweating the whole time.”
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As a chef, Forgione originally wanted to prepare the food for the reception himself. “But once we started to get into the ins and outs of getting food to the island, it was like, you know what? Planning a wedding is hard enough,” he says.
Instead Cap Juluca’s chef, Juan Bochenski, prepared a local crayfish salad with a breaded poached egg to start, and then guests had a choice of local snapper, chicken or steak with truffles and potatoes. “I was blown away by the execution of the food,” says Forgione. “So was everybody else.”
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For dessert, he enlisted the help of the owner of a local French patisserie, who Forgione has gotten to know as a frequent vacationer of the island. The pastry chef, Geraud, prepared a bavarois and a traditional wedding cake for the couple to cut — and then enjoy the next morning for breakfast.
After Forgione surprised Angelilli with fireworks at the end of the reception, the party continued to the Bamboo Beach Bar for even more food. “They had a buffet of chicken, ribs, snapper, rice and peas,” he says. “Then we just kind of partied until we couldn’t dance anymore.”