Dan’s Harvest East End Honoree Chef Tom Schaudel Spills the Beans

Chef Tom Schaudel
Chef Tom Schaudel

Accomplished East End chef and author Thomas G. Schaudel has been serving Long Islanders for 46 years, but he asserts that he’s being honored at Dan’s Harvest East End on August 23 “for my consumption—I drink more [Long Island wine] than anyone I know.” Hmmm, and how did Schaudel arrive at the name of his newest restaurant, The Petulant Wino? “It’s autobiographical.” Be that as it may, Schaudel is a discerning consumer who’s particularly taken with aromatic white wines such as Riesling and “odd little varietals.” And, on a more serious note, he says, “It’s humbling and feels good” to be recognized at Harvest.

Schaudel has had a string of renowned restaurants, including Coolfish in Montauk and Jewel, his largest East End restaurant to date. In addition to the Petulant Wino in Aquebogue, Schaudel currently operates ALure Chowder House & Oysteria in Southold and aMano Osteria & Wine Bar in Mattituck. All three of these restaurants will be represented at Harvest.

Schaudel is looking forward to the atmosphere of Harvest, as he says, “There’s a real sense of community between restaurants and wineries, a sense of fellowship—we’re
all in this together.”

Schaudel recently sold his house in East Hampton and now resides in Jamesport, in the heart of Long Island Wine Country. When asked to name some of his favorite Long Island wineries, Schaudel acknowledged that that’s a loaded question but shared: Bedell Cellars, Clovis Point Wines, Jamesport Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, McCall Wines, Pellegrini Winery & Vineyard, Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse and Waters Crest Winery. Schaudel noted that he is a fan of their work “top to bottom…there’s been an evolution.”

When asked to name some of his favorite dishes at the Petulant Wino, Schaudel doesn’t hesitate: Fettuccini with Lobster, Grilled Octopus Salad, Grilled Cheese, Sea Bass with Green Thai Curry. Schaudel says, “I think the restaurant business is in your DNA—you have to do it. If you don’t have it, you can’t do it. The sick part is I still enjoy it too—[now I can help] some young people get a shot at their own place.” Schaudel’s daughter Courtney has long worked as a server in Schaudel’s restaurants and is a partner in his latest, the Petulant Wino, along with
Lenny Campanelli, a chef from Coolfish.

How does Schaudel navigate working with his daughter as a partner? “It’s always fun to get yelled at on a daily basis, I’ve got this down to routine…sort of. My life is a benign dictatorship. I step back a little.”

Schaudel famously penned Playing with Fire, Whining and Dining on the Gold Coast (Legwork Team Publishing) in 2008. This send-up of his many “more colorful” restaurant patrons was a hit with readers and Schaudel has agreed to put out a second volume on the same hilarious subject. Did it take six years to collect enough material for second book on Long Island restaurant clientele? “No,” he answers, “I could do a book in a weekend—Long Island vibrates at a different level. [Which he has dubbed] ‘Extreme eating on Long Island.’ I’m not a writer, I’m a reporter!”

How funny can it get? In his first book, Schaudel introduced us to a woman who asserted that she is “allergic to sauté!” Schaudel will again look to his regular restaurant patron and friend, author Nelson DeMille, to write an introduction. The new to me  may be out as early as spring, 2015. I’ll raise a glass to that!

Dan’s Harvest East End is Saturday, August 23, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue. To purchase tickets, including Vin-IP entry (starting at 6:30 p.m.), and for more info, please visit HarvestEastEnd.com.Chef

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