“Nothing is better than being able to sit on the most beautiful beaches every day before work,” says Skinny Mei, the executive chef of Red Stixs, an upscale Beijing-style restaurant with outposts in Water Mill and New York. The Hamptons location reopens in less than two weeks—a true indication that summer on the East End has arrived. Chef Mei looks forward to participating in Dan’s Taste of Summer and shares his passion for sourcing locally and his affinity for chopsticks over forks.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
The ability to have the local guests and the friends of Red Stixs experience our exceptional cuisine.
If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in?
I only use chopsticks! But if I had to use forks, I would say vegetable dumplings and chow fun [flat noodle with chicken, beef or vegetables].
One dish everyone should try at least once in life:
Peking duck. The combination of crispy and succulent flavors together is amazing.
Best pairing of food and local wine:
Pinot with salt and pepper calamari; rosé with spare ribs; chardonnay with our black bass.
If you were to eat at Red Stixs as a guest, what would you order?
My all-time favorites are: chicken satay, ginger lobster or our crispy beef.
Describe the adrenaline of working in a Hamptons kitchen.
The adrenaline I feel comes from working with a passionate team, and serving guests who appreciate quality food and dishes.
The perfect drink for a summer night:
Red Stixs Lychee Martini; Whispering Angel Rosé.
Food that defines summer on the East End:
The dish for me is the Crunchy Duck Salad [made with dried cranberries, sesame and soy vinaigrette].
What is your favorite local ingredient?
Our Long Island duck! Also, all of our fish and produce is locally purchased.
What is your favorite aspect of being part of the East End’s culinary culture?
We close the “culinary circle” for guests who are looking for quality foods
When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
Being that I am from China, to be considered as a “local” or part of a “local” community is heart-warming for me and makes me feel at home.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inside the kitchen, I find inspiration in working with a team of passionate chefs who always push for more. Outside the kitchen, it’s the packed dining room (in both locations) that is full of happy friends and family.
Three things you would pack to eat at the beach:
A bottle of Whispering Angle Rosé, vegetable rolls and Peking chicken.
A great meal always begins with…
A hot wok! And good friends.
Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, 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 DansTaste.com.