Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Chef Gray Gardell-Gross

Gray Gardell-Gross
Photo: Courtesy 668 The Gig Shack

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company returns Saturday, July 23, but to a new Bridgehampton location—the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox. Chef Gray Gardell-Gross reflects on the event and some of 668 The Gig Shack’s offerings.

Dining at 668 The Gig Shack is the very definition of Montauk’s laidback, surfer vibe. A want ad for summer 2016 Gig Shack staff reads in part, “Must be trustworthy and fun as all hell.”

What fuels your creativity as a chef?
Creativity definitely comes and goes. Chefs absolutely fuel each other to go further and push the envelope.

What local ingredients are you using right now?
Right now in April, the fishing isn’t in its prime. But soon enough fish will be our main focus. We ran a nice homemade pasta the other night with local fiddlehead ferns, and grilled up some local ramps to use with our ribeye. But what the people really want to hear about is the local tilefish that we get. We have so many close fishing connections at the Gig Shack. Every day someone’s trying to push some sort of weird seafood on me. I just wish there were more people out here right now to eat it…

What’s your local beverage, or cocktail, of choice this season?
My brother, Skylar Gardell-Gross, and his friends are opening a new whiskey company called Montauk Hard Label. The whiskey has been aging for the last year and the signature cocktail will be blueberry whiskey with muddled blueberry and lemonade. Their line will premiere with a big party in June at the Gig Shack, the date not yet confirmed. And after that it will be distributed all over Montauk.

Which of your dishes would you most like to serve to another chef?
Poached eggs. Poached eggs in the morning and a cup of tea create a great atmosphere. It’s simple yet elegant, and gets your mind on food for the day. Not to mention, you can serve it with almost anything in your fridge and change it up daily.

What are you most looking forward to at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks event?
My favorite part is sending my brother and some minions to go cater the event itself. Nothing ever works out perfectly and I love hearing the stories about what I could have done better to make their lives easier. The truth is, they’re missing work on a Saturday in July, and I really don’t feel bad about making them have to use their brains for a bit.

Please complete this sentence: I could survive on a desert island if I just had….
this food and beverage: Cat food. If my cat’s fed, he can do all my hunting for me. And then I’ll start up a vineyard for my wine.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 22, and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk premieres on Saturday, July 30. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com! A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds from GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns.

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