Meet Chef Marcel Link of Bridgehampton’s Mercado

Marcel Link, the Mercado chef.
Marcel Link, the Mercado chef.

For Mercado chef Marcel Link, local fish is the most quintessential East End summer ingredient. And the dish that defines summer on the East End is fish tacos, perhaps paired with the perfect drink for a summer night: a spicy Mercado margarita. Chef Link will be serving his Mexican fare at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on Saturday, July 18.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
Trying other restaurant’s dishes. When running a restaurant, you don’t get to go out.

One food or dish that everyone should try at least once in life:
There is no one dish, but I think everyone should try something different and that they would normally never eat. Like recently I was in Mexico and tried grasshoppers and fried beetles. So if you’ve never had pigs feet or cow brains, give it a shot once.

What is the best pairing of food and Long Island beer? Long Island wine?
Mercado’s Carnitas Taco and Montauk IPA, our Salmon a la Talla and Wölffer Chardonnay

If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
I love the Carne Asada with Jalapeño Mashed Potato.

Describe the adrenaline of working in a Hamptons kitchen.
I don’t believe this is any different than any other place in the world. except here it’s only for a couple of months. The rest of the time it is easy-paced.

What drew you to work on the East End?
I live here so it was an easy commute

If we looked inside your refrigerator right now, what would we find?
About 30 different vegetables, meats and chicken and fish

The perfect drink for a summer night:
A Spicy Mercado Margarita

Food that defines summer on the East End:
Fish tacos

If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in?
I’d rather not have forks and eat baby back ribs bare-handed

Favorite East End-inspired meal?
Anything with local fish

What is your favorite local ingredient?
We grow our own squash blossoms for our squash blossom quesadilla, so those are my favorites.

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the East End culinary culture?
Meeting the occasional celebrity, and being a year-round place the locals enjoy.

When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
Someone who lives here more than 300 days a year.

Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
Trying other Mexican restaurants when I can and visiting Mexico

If you were to pack a meal for the beach, what are three things you’d bring?
Fried chicken, watermelon and napkins

A great meal always begins with…
Fresh ingredients and a smile

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. 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

Mercado, 1970 Montauk Highway, Water Mill., 631-237-1334

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