Celebrity chef Marc Murphy, a judge on Food Network’s Chopped, is coming home to the East End to co-host Dan’s GrillHampton on July 17 with friend and Restaurant: Impossible star Robert Irvine. Murphy has a home in Bridgehampton, and also a deep connection to Montauk. He first learned to surf at Ditch Plains beach in Montauk with instructor Corey Senese of CoreysWave Professional Surf Instruction. The beach supplied the name of Murphy’s New York-style fish shack, Ditch Plains Restaurant, which is located in the West Village. This spring, Murphy released his debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, which talks about his life and his relationship with food while providing recipes for easy-to-prep dishes. Here, Murphy talks about what guests can expect the night of GrillHampton and what it means to eat local.
What are you most looking forward to about hosting Dan’s GrillHampton?
It’s just great to be out there. It’s always a relaxing time, because usually I’m off! It’s always nice to meet new people who are fans.
What can guests expect to see from you and co-host Robert Irvine?
Robert Irvine and I are friends. We’re just nice guys who like hanging out with all the people, enjoying great food and local product. We try not to cause too much trouble.
Can you talk about your restaurant Ditch Plains? What is your relationship with Montauk and the East End, both the culinary culture and the surf culture?
Seven or eight years ago, I got a surfboard for Father’s Day. I took a lesson with Corey Senese of CoreysWave, and I was hooked. We went to Costa Rica together [to surf]. Ditch Plains is a New York-style fish house, so the name felt appropriate.
What is one thing everyone should try to cook on the grill at least once?
Soft shell crabs. It’s so easy.
What does the phrase “local” mean to you, and why is eating local so important?
Seafood! I don’t want my oysters to have jet lag. Supporting local farmers is very important. Food tastes better when it’s ripened on the vines, where it’s grown.
Can you talk about your new book?
I’m the type of person who always wonders what I’m doing tomorrow, not yesterday. Writing the book was like a therapy session to tell my story. It’s a cookbook that is accessible. Simple ingredients and not a lot of steps. Easy things to make.
Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, 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 info, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.