SCGP Cafe’s Chef Paolo Fontana Raises A Glass To Dan’s Harvest East End

SCGP Cafe’s Chef Paolo Fontana Raises A Glass To Dan’s Harvest East End

“Roasted chicken, tomato salad, and corn on the cob,” are foods that define summer on the East End for Chef Paolo Fontana of SCGP Cafe in Stony Brook. Fontana, the son of Sicilian imigrants, grew up in the kitchen and studied in Italy as well as The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Stony Brook University, and NYU. Early in his career he apprenticed under famed Chef Mario Batali and has continued in that tradition serving as a culinary instructor at NYIT. Chef Fontana will be on the North Fork this summer where he joins over 40 chefs at Dan’s Harvest East End this August. He took time out from his busy kitchen to dish with us about perfect drinks, desserts with a kick, and raised a toast to East End wine.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Harvest East End this year?
I’m looking forward to seeing and talking with chef friends, and the wine makers, and farmers. I enjoy seeing the progression of the East End in terms of wine and culinary arts, aquaculture.

One food or dish that everyone should try at least once in life?
Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads

What is the best pairing of food and East End wine?
Jamesport Sauvignon Blanc and Oysters

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
One of our sandwiches, and some soup.

Describe the relationship between East End wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture?
It would be great to have an overall governing body. I haven’t thought this through enough, but I think that Stony Brook Southampton should be a part of it.

The perfect drink for a summer night is a…?
Dark and Stormy

What is your favorite local ingredient?
I’m using a lot of wine in desserts right now. So, wine, specifically Jamesport Verjus.

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
I’m proud to be part of the progressive edge of what is going to be the East Coast’s Napa Valley

When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
My dream backyard, the East End Landscape

Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
My Wife. Trips to the farms. My Coworkers.

A great meal always begins with…
Great company.

Make a toast to East End wine.
To all the beautiful things that await us, as the world takes witness of our passion. Chin-Chin!

SCGP Cafe is located at Stony Brook University’s Simmons Center for Geometry and Physics, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook, NY, scgp.stonybrook.edu/cafe

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

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