Taste Your Way Through an East End Summer

Dan's Taste of Summer returns for summer 2015!
Dan's Taste of Summer returns for summer 2015!

No Hamptons summer season would be complete without sipping and savoring your way through the Dan’s Taste of Summer all-star foodie lineup. Once again, Dan’s Papers announces the return of Taste of Summer with its three fan-favorites: GrillHampton (Friday, July 17), Taste of Two Forks Presented by Farrell Building (Saturday, July 18) and Harvest East End (Saturday, August 22).

In the Hamptons, it’s all about eating—and drinking—local. “In the simple act of cooking and preparing food, local means flavor,” says Restaurant Impossible star Robert Irvine, who is back for a second year to host the GrillHampton festivities. “But in the greater context of what I do, local means so much more: health, nutrition, sustainability, community, and economic development are only a few of the ideas that come to mind. So the fact that local food tastes better is just one of those really great and rare concurrences that we can all benefit from.”

“Local means I could drive over to the farm and pick it up and make it for dinner that night,” adds Katie Lee, who will once again be co-hosting Taste of Two Forks. A longtime Hamptons resident, Lee is the star of Food Network’s The Kitchen, and she recently released a new cookbook, Endless Summer. “If I turn right out of my driveway, I can be at the produce farm in five minutes, if I turn left, I can be at the chicken farm in five minutes. That’s local.”

Start your savory summer off with Dan’s GrillHampton. Eight grillmasters from New York City will face off against eight chefs from the Hamptons in a cooking competition, with guests tasting their way through the lineup and voting on their favorite dish of the night for Peoples’ Choice honors—votes also get tallied to declare a winner among Team Hamptons and Team NYC. An esteemed panel from the culinary world will also award a Judges’ Choice prize for best dish.

“GrillHampton brings together all of the best elements of summer—good friends, leisurely fun and relaxation and iconic seasonal dishes and refreshing drinks, all in the gorgeous setting this celebrate coastal destination,” says Irvine. “What isn’t there to look forward to?”

For co-hosting duties, Irvine will be joined by fellow Food Network star and chef Marc Murphy, known for his restaurants Landmarc and Kingside, as well as his latest cookbook Season with Authority. “With Marc and I at the grill,” says Irvine, “guests can expect lots of laughs and some incredible food.” And dancing, as the event will also feature live music by party band New Life Crisis.

The duo will be charged with keeping the competition thriving while peoples’ palates decide which team does indeed reign supreme.

And, what does Irvine think everyone should try on the grill at least once? “Everyone should try to create a ‘bottleless’ grilling experience, which means no bottled seasonings, high-sodium marinades or sugary sauces,” he says of the secret to creating success on the grill. “Instead, create a fresh citrus marinade with lemons, limes, oranges, vinegars, fresh herbs and grape seed oil.”

The following evening, indulge in fresh fare from dozens of the East End’s top chefs at the fifth annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, which entices the best restaurants, wineries and purveyors to showcase their goods for a mouth-watering evening. The event will honor restaurateur, author and lifestyle maven B. Smith for her dedication to dining in the Hamptons and Manhattan, as well as the country through her role with the American Chef Corps.

“B. Smith has had a presence in our community for such a long time and I think it is great that Taste of Two Forks is paying homage to her this year,” says Lee, who will be co-hosting with a fellow celebrity chef, to be announced soon. “I am proud to be paying tribute to such a strong, successful woman in our industry.”

In addition to the dozens of restaurants that participate each year, Taste of Two Forks also showcases the abundance of local artisanal purveyors that help make the East End a true foodies’ find. “The Hamptons provides a huge source of inspiration for me and anyone who loves to cook,” says Lee. “We have some of the greatest farms in the world right here. This is one of the few places that you can truly eat everything from the area. We have all of the produce, vineyards, chicken farmers, farmers of the sea, dairy farmers, even sea salt farmers!”

Music will energize the crowd as they watch the sunset from inside the elegant tent and VIP ticket holders will have ample space to relax and indulge in a private lounge filled with oysters, specialty drinks and other exclusive perks. A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds will go to benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), an organization that supports East End nonprofits.

Rounding out the summertime fun is Dan’s Harvest East End, now in its sixth year. Oenophiles rejoice as Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council gather the best and brightest winemakers of the East End for this annual celebration of wine, food and local bounty. More than 40 wineries and 30 restaurants and purveyors will convene under the tent at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue.

Largely the brainchild of Wölffer Estate Vineyard winemaker Roman Roth, the inaugural Harvest East End took place in September 2010 at Wölffer Estate’s horse farm property in Bridgehampton. “Every great wine region needs a great wine festival,” says Roth of his inspiration for starting Harvest, citing the celebratory mood of the wine festivals in his native Germany as what he wanted to emulate.

“We started off trying to copy great wine events—10-mile dinners, dancing, a tasting beforehand, the greatest wine event you can make,” explains Roth. “But the East End has its own unique dynamic that we addressed by making one beautiful event. Long Island is different than other wine regions.”

Winemakers will be on-hand at the event to explain their varietals, offer special barrel tastings and more.

“There’s an energy to the room,” Roth says.

Though the event was held on the South Fork in 2011 and 2012, this is the third consecutive year that Harvest will be held at McCall, which was voted the 2013 New York Winery of the Year by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Roth enjoys that the night celebrates all of Long Island Wine Country, and is not specific to one fork.

“If it were up to me, [the whole region] would just be called the East End of Long Island, not the Hamptons and North Fork,” says Roth, emphasizing that there is a spirit of community that reaches over both forks.

“There’s no rivalry… Well, only a friendly rivalry,” he muses.

Tickets to GrillHampton are $125. VIP tickets to Taste of Two Forks are $250, GA tickets are $170. VIP tickets to Harvest East End are $275, GA tickets are $125. Packages to attend multiple events are available. Both GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will be held at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, in Bridgehampton. Harvest East End will be held at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. Dan’s Taste of Two Forks’ presenting sponsor is Farrell Building Company, the luxury homebuilders of the Hamptons. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTaste.com.

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