At the inaugural Dan’s GrillHampton one year ago, Rumba reigned supreme as the People’s Choice winner as its tasty Dominican Ribs inspired not only oohs and aahs but more votes from guests than any of the night’s other amazing offerings. As he returns to defend the Rumba title at GrillHampton on July 11, Chef David Hersh shares what he loves about the local culinary culture, Team Hamptons topping Team NYC in this year’s grill-off and more.
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?
It means a time to taste many people’s specialty from around Long Island. Whether it’s a wine makers favorite wine from their vineyard or a chef’s favorite dish of the season, it’s all something special. It’s being able to visit many local farms, restaurants and vineyards all in two great nights and under one tent.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
Tasting everyone’s specialties and meeting the great people behind the operations.
Rumba is the defending champion at GrillHampton. What is it like, going in to the competition with that legacy to defend?
I’m just hoping everyone will enjoy one of our specialties we are serving again and vote for us if we are your favorite.
What did you learn at last year’s GrillHampton that you’ll take into the competition this year?
How to get there.
Describe the moment you knew the culinary world was your passion?
It was in Spain drinking a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
An empty plate is… not a frisbee!
What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
Having the ability to obtain many of our ingredients and items locally.
When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
Collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies—one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place, Long Island!
Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
Your favorite food- or drink-related song:
My girl taste like pork chops [aka “Pork Chops” by Two Man Gentleman Band]
If you were packing for an East End picnic, what are 3 things we’d find in your basket?
Wine, glasses, blanket
What beverage are you looking forward to enjoying on a hot summer night?
Any one of Rumba’s or Cowfish’s specialty cocktails. I love rotating through the menu.
Why is Team Hamptons going to reign supreme over Team NYC this year?
The many months of training and planning. We have better stamina.
Finish this sentence: Summertime grilling is greatest…when you can share it with your loved ones.
For up-to-the-minute information on ticket availability to Dan’s GrillHampton 2014, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.