Betty or Veronica. New York City pizza or Chicago deep-dish. Yankees or Red Sox. Edison or Tesla. Coke or Pepsi. The most impassioned rivalry debates are often those that center around two choices both so worthy, both so beloved, that fans on either side must see the merits of the other, even when defending their choice to the ends of the earth—or at least the end of Long Island. Sometimes the only way to settle things is with a head-to-head showdown that puts the factions face-to-face. That’s exactly what foodie fans should expect when the East End and New York City square off on July 12 at the inaugural GrillHampton.
Combining the adrenaline of an all-out cooking competition with an East End tasting event like no other, GrillHampton taps into the age-old love of summer barbecues as well as the growing trend of chef “grill-offs” and cooking contests from Iron Chef to Chopped. Hosted by Food Network Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, the man behind The Lamb’s Club and The National Bar & Dining Rooms in Manhattan, GrillHampton invites gourmands and backyard grillers alike to come enjoy the action as eight New York City chefs throw down in a cooking competition against a lineup of culinary counterparts from both the North and South Forks.
There may not quite be the “two men enter, one man leaves” theatrics of Thunderdome, but when there are serious barbecue bragging rights at stake, don’t expect either side to bring any less than their A-game…along with a few secrets about what makes the ultimate grilling experience.
“As far as I am concerned, real BBQ must be cooked using a real wood fire, producing flavorful smoke,” says Hamptons team member and Foody’s chef Bryan Futerman, who’s willing to reveal that the most important feature of his own approach to great grilling is locally grown cherry wood logs.
Yes, grills will be smokin’ with an array of meats from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors (there’ll be veggies, too—the East End is the epicenter of fresh produce, after all) as the chefs prepare items for the panel of celebrity judges—including Food & Wine magazine editor Kate Krader, restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, and Dan’s Papers founder and editor-in-chief Dan Rattiner. And in a unique GrillHampton twist, guests will also be in on
More than just getting a rare up-close view of these top chefs plying their craft, everyone at GrillHampton will become part of the competition. Throughout the big night under the big tent at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton, Blue Moon Brewing Company beers, Tito’s Vodka, Miami Cocktail and other libations will be flowing as guests stroll the venue and taste the creations being prepared before their eyes. They will then be able to vote for their favorite dish of the evening, and the winner will be honored with the coveted Blue Moon People’s Choice Award.
And if you think the chefs aren’t playing to win, think again.
“It absolutely matters,” says The Frisky Oyster’s Robby Beaver, who’s representing the North Fork along with Chef Keith Luce on “The Greenport Team” as part of the Hamptons contingent. “New York City is the Mecca of food in the U.S, so to be able to have bragging rights over that would be pretty good.”
There’s no debate about that.
The GrillHampton Players
•Billy Oliva, Delmonico’s Southampton
•Bryan Futerman, Foody’s
•Emanouil Aslanoglou, Old Stove Pub
•Colin Ambrose, Estia’s Little Kitchen
•Peter Ambrose, Hampton Seafood
•David Hersh, Cowfish/Rumba
•Victor Tapia, The Palm
•“The Greenport Team” of Robby Beaver, The Frisky Oyster and Keith Luce, The Square
New York City
•Harold Moore, Commerce
•Joey Campanaro, The Little Owl
•Chris Santos, Stanton Social
•Paul Denamiel, Le Rivage
•Nils Noren, Red Rooster
•Elizabeth Karmel, Hill Country BBQ & Chicken
•Cliff Crooks, BLT Steak
•Elizabeth Falkner, Corvo Bianco
Now that your appetites have been sufficiently whetted with all this talk of grilling and extraordinary chefs, one of the New York City team members shares a recipe you can try at home while you’re getting your GrillHampton game face on.
French Onion Soup Burger
Executive Chef Paul Denamiel of Le Rivage and Little Prince
6 8-ounce burgers
6 slices of Emmental cheese
6 large size Thomas’ English Muffins, toasted
For the Onions
4 large Spanish Onions
1 cup beef or chicken stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the Béchamel
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
Freshly ground pepper
For the Béchamel
In a heavy bottoms saucepan, melt the butter. Using a whisk, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour does not have the raw flavor, about 2 minutes. Mixture will bubble a bit. Do not let the mixture brown. Whisk in the hot milk, making sure there are no lumps and mixture is smooth. Continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the sauce. Set aside.
For the Onions
Peel the onions and then cut them in half length wise. Cut into thin half moon slices.
In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, sauté the onion with 4 tbs. olive oil and thyme sprigs until they are soft and caramelized. Add the stock and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated. This may take about 20 minutes total cooking time. Remove thyme sprigs. Set aside.
For the Burger
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Lightly brush the pan with olive oil.
Generously salt and pepper both sides of each burger. Place burger on grill pan and cook 5-6 minutes on each side for medium burger. After burger is flipped, place cheese on top of burger, and cook until desired internal temperature is reached and cheese is melted.
Butter the toasted Thomas’ English Muffins. Place a tablespoon of béchamel sauce on bottom side of muffin. Place the burger on top and then place a tablespoon of the sautéed onions on top of the burger. Place the other half of the muffin on top of the onions.
Serve with French Fries
The inaugural GrillHampton takes place on Friday, July 12, beginning at 8 p.m. at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Tickets are $115 per person.
For more information and to purchase tickets to GrillHampton, as well as the third annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks food and wine event, visit danstasteoftwoforks.com.