Chatting with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Chef Parker Hodges of Canal Café

Canal Cafe
Canal Cafe

If you’re coming to the Hamptons, knowing what to pack for a beach meal is essential. “Beer for me, rosé for my wife, our Weber grill, fresh corn, marinated shrimp,” says chef Parker Hodges of Canal Café in Hampton Bays. Located right on the water, Canal Café offers fresh seafood and a unique take on traditional dishes. Hodges will be on hand at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, held on Saturday, July 18 in Bridgehampton. Here, he talks about the East End culinary culture and what it means to be “local.”

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
Being among many fellow chefs and tasting their creations

One food everyone should try at least once:
If prepared correctly, sweetbreads are a favorite

What is the best pairing of food and Long Island beer? Long Island wine?
Red Thai curry mussels and Crooked Ladder Summeritis.  Lobster roll with Wölffer rosé.

If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
Tuna, striped bass, mussels, lobster roll, clams

Describe the adrenaline of working in a Hamptons kitchen.
Nine months of creativity and three months of madness where you try to apply it.

What drew you to work on the East End?
I grew up in Southampton, [and have] been cooking in restaurants since 1982

The perfect drink for a summer night:
Cold beer

Food that defines summer on the East End:
BBQ with fresh grilled fish and vegetables

If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in?
A nice piece of grilled tuna served rare, on the other, hanger steak with lots of chimichurri sauce

What is your favorite local ingredient?
Peconic Bay scallops

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
The camaraderie among fellow restaurants

When you hear “local,” what comes to mind?
I associate it mostly with our farms and waters and what they provide us with year round.

Where do you find inspiration?
Brainstorming with coworkers in the kitchen or when we are out fishing

Favorite East End-inspired meal?
Little neck clams with leeks, chorizo, tomatoes

If you were to pack a meal for the beach, what are three things you’d bring?
Beer for me, rosé for my wife, our Weber grill, fresh corn, marinated shrimp

A great meal always begins with…
Catching your meal, preparing it, enjoying it with family and friends

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on July 17, and continues on July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both at Sayre Park, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit

Canal Café, 44 Newtown Road, Hampton Bays. 631-723-2155,

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