One of the biggest hits at the inaugural Dan’s Taste of Two Forks food-and-wine event last summer were the brisket sliders served up by Arthur Wolf. This year, Wolf and his new restaurant, Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More in East Hampton, will be returning those incredible sliders to the 2012 Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on July 14, but we couldn’t wait until then to talk about his favorite local fare, summertime drinks and more.
What Are You Most Looking Forward To at the Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Event: It’s exciting and an honor to be asked back. I’m looking to have a good time like we did last year, serve the people good food again. I see there are a few more new restaurants that will be there, and the crowd will be even bigger this year, so that sounds exciting to me.
What is one food or dish that everyone should try at least once in life? Any wild animal. It just sounds different and unique, and it makes a nice piece of conversation to eat wild bear or elk or something like that. I was on My Redneck Vacation with my son and my daughter, when we went to the family backyard barbecue, and they had raccoon there, and I tried that, and they had gator—I’ve had gator before, but I ate that—and frogs legs. My son, who is skittish about what he eats, was eating the raccoon and the rattlesnake sausage and the gator, and when we went to the wedding he said, “Oh, I tried the groundhog”—and who would ever think about eating that? It’s a better conversation piece than saying, “Oh, I had that piece of fish,” that everybody else has had.
What quality do you most admire in a chef? I like somebody who is structured but can work well under pressure, and doesn’t have resentment in case there’s a mistake but can just address it, pick up and move on. A good personality is much more important than creativity.
What would be your one request of the cooking gods? Just to broaden my education, show me more creativity. A little more knowledge never hurts anybody.
If I looked inside your refrigerator right now, what would I find? Fresh vegetables from local purveyors. You’d find a nice selection of barbecue meats. And a couple beer kegs.
The Perfect Drink for a Summer Night: For the perfect drink on a summer night, location would be the key. If you were on the beach, relaxing, watching the sunset, probably a nice martini for the woman and and glass of beer for the guy. And if you’re at a cowboy cookout, there’s nothing wrong with sipping down a few margaritas and doing a shot of whiskey.
Food That Defines Summer on Long Island: The summertime reminds be best of fresh tomatoes. I remember as a kid my dad had a couple tomato plants, and every night at the table we’d just take them out of the garden and serve them at room temperature—cut into wedges with a little salt and pepper and that would be it. It was, like, every night. And fresh local corn, and cucumbers, too. Nice and simple.
If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in: Anything that’s appetizing. When it comes to food, I’m not picky—as long as it’s good and it smells good. Whatever you give me on my plate, I’ll eat. Give me a plate the size of Mount Everest, I’ll eat it.
The World Ends Tomorrow. Your Last Meal Would Be: Any type of meat and potatoes. I’m a meat-and-potatoes type guy, but always with a vegetable. At home when I make dinner, there’s always a starch and there’s always at least two vegetables. Whether it be broccoli or asparagus or corn—although corn is really a starch, it’s still considered a vegetable to me.
What Is Your Guilty Pleasure These Days: Dessert. I have a sweet tooth, that’s my weakness. And if I need to maintain my size in clothing, I need to have dessert at least once a day. I could be happy ordering dessert before I order dinner—this way I have room for dessert.
What’s Great About Being Part of the Cuisine Culture on the East End: A great part of it is seeing the community get together at an event like this, all from the East End, doing a terrific fundraiser for a great cause.
What do you consider a chef’s most underrated virtue? I guess everyone knows it—it’s long hours, it’s a hot kitchen, it’s dedication. What are we underrated for? Probably just how we stand the heat. And mentally, it’s 24-7.
Finish This Sentence: The Perfect Meal Is…: Well balanced with flavors, ingredients and love.
The second annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks is Saturday, July 14, at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton. Click here for more information and to get your tickets now!