Dining Features

Meet Chefs Erik Orlowski & John Urbinati of Fifth Season

Many locals and tourists celebrate Long Island’s four seasons, but Port Jefferson’s Fifth Season embraces Long Island culinary culture, from wines to heirloom tomatoes, deliciously. Fifth Season chefs Erik Orlowski and John Urbinati serve up their top picks below.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Harvest East End this year?
Seeing what the other great chefs are making this year. It is always fun and exciting to see what your peers are doing and meeting with them on a more personal level.

Fifth Season chefs Erik Orlowski and John Urbinati
Fifth Season chefs Erik Orlowski and John Urbinati

What is one food or dish that everyone should try at least once in life?
Slow-roasted Berkshire pork belly. It has crispy skin, and the meat and fat literally melt in
your mouth.

What is the best pairing of food and East End wine?
Our Housemade Cavatelli with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, Fennel, Oil Cured Olives, Roasted Peppers, Pecorino Romano Pan Sauce and Croteaux Vineyards 2014 Merlot 314 Dry Rosé.

If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
I would first order the fried clams, from our bar menu. I love those things. Then I would have our scallop dish, which for the summer menu has Local Corn Purée, and a Ragu of Local Corn, House Cured Bacon, and Spinach. And if you had to twist my arm for dessert I would order the S’mores Parfait. It is made with Chocolate Molten Cake, Graham Cracker Crumble, Sweet Cream, and Housemade Fluff. And yes, it is that good.

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 be held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

Describe the relationship between East End wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture?
Only a couple words come to mind: Absolute perfection. We truly believe that what grows together, goes together. We feel that every year the bond between farmers and restaurants increases thus allowing for fresher, local and more sustainable products being served to our community. It also allows us to offer the total experience of pairing great local wine with great local food.

The perfect drink for a summer night:
Our Peach and Basil Sweet Tea.

Favorite East End-inspired meal?
Little Neck Clams Steamed in Butter, Grilled Whole Lobsters and Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella and 12-Year-Aged Balsamic Reduction.

What is your favorite local ingredient?
Strawberries. It is truly amazing the difference in flavor, texture and color. [Their season] is truly the only time I eat strawberries.

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
Being able to show people that great food comes right from their backyard. There is no reason to buy food from other countries that have lesser standards in quality.

When you hear the word “local,” what comes to mind?
Driving up Sound Avenue and seeing the grapes and cornfields. It is also interesting to see hops growing now.

Fifth Season Restaurant, 34 East Broadway, Port Jefferson, 631-477-8500, thefifth-season.com

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 be held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

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