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:
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 DansTasteofSummer.com.
Canal Café, 44 Newtown Road, Hampton Bays. 631-723-2155, thecanalcafe.com