Dan’s Harvest East End returns to McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on August 22. The event brings together 40-plus East End winemakers and over 30 top regional chefs for an extravagant night of sipping and tasting. Keeping the festivities lively will be celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen and Judge on Chopped. Zakarian has the esteemed honor of being the first celebrity host of all three Dan’s Taste of Summer events—he achieved the hat trick as the host of the inaugural Dan’s GrillHampton in 2013 and co-hosting Dan’s Taste of Two Forks will his Kitchen co-star Katie Lee in 2014. Zakarian’s recently released cookbook My Perfect Pantry showcases 150 recipes that can be created from items most often found in peoples’ pantries. Here, the culinary guru behind the Palm Court, The National and The Lambs Club in Manhattan, among others nationwide, dishes on the culinary culture of the East End and the importance of eating local.
You’ve hosted Dan’s GrillHampton, Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, and are now heading to Dan’s Harvest East End. Can you comment on the unique aspects of hosting events out east?
Well, aside from the obvious beauty of the location, it’s a great opportunity to see the continued growth and quality of the Hamptons food and beverage scene.
What are you most looking forward to the night of Harvest?
It’s all about the chefs and people who make the food and wine. Period. Their dedication, and their passion. I love hearing their stories, actually.
What does it mean for the East End wine industry to have some of the world’s most renowned chefs in such close proximity?
Like bread and butter! A perfect marriage.
One food or dish everyone should try at least once in life?
What does the phrase “local” meant to you, and why is eating local so important?
Local should and has to mean the best. It can’t be a buzzword to throw around cheaply, so when I do local, I consider it synonymous with the absolute best.
What is the best pairing of food and East End wine?
Rosé and local striped bass.
Can you tell me about your cookbook My Perfect Pantry and some of your favorite summer produce?
Well, we tried hard, and I believe succeeded, in really organizing and explaining the importance of a simple but well stocked pantry. My favorites are mostly all fruits! Peaches, plums, apricots and of course, tomatoes!
What are some of your favorite summer wines?
Champagne any time, rosé, followed by some more rosé.
The trio of Dan’s Taste of Summer Events wraps up with Dan’s Harvest East End, the food-and-wine classic, on August 22. Hosted by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, the event will showcase more than 40 East End winemakers, the dishes of 30-plus top regional chefs and purveyors. Tickets start at $125 for general admission and $275 for VIP admission. The event will be held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.