Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Sienna Executive Chef Donatella Arpaia

Sienna Restaurant's New Executive Chef Donatella Arpaia
Chef Donatella Arpaia

“My favorite food and drink constantly change. Currently I am obsessed with the hand-cut spaghetti with oven roasted tomato sauce and topped with stracciatella cheese from our Sienna menu,” says Donatella Arpaia, Executive Chef of Sienna Restaurant & Ultralounge in East Hampton. “To me this dish says summer. And my favorite drink is definitely Domaines Ott Chateau de Selle.”

As she looks forward to joining the esteemed lineup of chefs and winemakers at the fourth annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks during Dan’s Taste of Summer Weekend in July, Arpaia dishes on her favorite aspects of the East End’s culinary culture, the inspiration of family and the anticipation of a cucumber vodka martini.

This year the weekend comprising Taste of Two Forks and GrillHampton has been dubbed Dan’s Taste of Summer. What does the phrase “taste of summer” mean to you?
The “taste of summer” means enjoying all the fresh produce that the Hamptons has to offer!

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
This is my entry back into the Hamptons. I used to spend time here when I was single, but now I am a wife and mother. It will be nice to reconnect with people in the industry and see friends in a relaxed and beautiful atmosphere.

Describe the moment you knew the culinary world was your passion.
I was a newly minted attorney and practicing for a few months. One night I was eating at the bar of my brother’s restaurant, Cellini in midtown, and it was raining. The restaurant was packed and his host didn’t show up, so I got up and started to help him. I felt a serious rush of excitement and knew this is what I was meant to do. I quit law two weeks later and have never looked back. That was over 13 years ago!

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
My favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End is being able to incorporate local Hamptons produce into my dishes.

When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
When I hear the phrase “local” I think about local farmers and their commitment to quality seasonal ingredients.

Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
I’m constantly searching for inspiration wherever I go—and New York is the perfect place for that because it’s so diverse and the energy is incredible. As a new mom, my family is a huge source of inspiration to me nowadays. They’ve really changed my approach to cooking and living.

If you were packing for an East End picnic, what are three things we’d find in your basket?
The three things that you’d find in my basket would be prosciutto de Parma, burrata, and a white wine from Naples by Marisa Cuomo.

What beverage are you looking forward to enjoying on a hot summer night?
The beverage that I am looking forward to enjoy on a hot summer night is a cucumber vodka martini.

Finish this sentence: An empty plate is… satisfaction.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 11, and continues on Saturday, July 12, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. For more information on both events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

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