Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Chef John Oh, Scarpetta Beach

Scarpetta Beach at Gurney's Montauk Chef John Oh
Scarpetta Beach at Gurney's Montauk Chef John Oh, Photo: Courtesy Gurney's Montauk

Dan’s Papers’ newest Taste of Summer event, Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, premieres on Saturday, July 30. It will be the largest oceanfront food and drink fest ever to hit Montauk.

Chef John Oh from Gurney’s Scarpetta Beach will be there. As he points out, “Working in restaurants is a team sport. It’s never about one person. It’s about everyone involved. Every single person has the job and without those people, it does not work. If the busser doesn’t bring the plates to the dish pit fast enough, the dishwasher can’t clean and wash the plate, then the polisher can’t dry/polish the plate, then the chef can’t plate the food, then the next guest doesn’t get their food on time. That’s just one example of many systems that need to flow properly for a restaurant to function. Every job is equally as important no matter the title.”

Gurney’s certainly “flows,” by offering an array of food and beverage options, from elegant seasonal cuisine to casual fare to craft cocktails. Scarpetta Beach is one of the five unique dining and drinking venues at Gurney’s, the only year-round resort in Montauk. All of the venues at Gurney’s enjoy spectacular views of the Atlantic.

What fuels your creativity as a chef?
History and nature. Appreciating why food is the way it is now is so important. So many people, out of necessity, created the base of how we cook today. As long as you respect that history and respect the ingredients you’re using, you can’t go wrong.

What local ingredients are you using right now?
Definitely a lot of fish. Being on the coast is such a luxury and we take advantage of that. We obviously also use a lot of tomatoes at Scarpetta.

What do you think of the Montauk Fishburger?
I love the idea of educating people to use our resources responsibly. I believe that more efforts like this will make a huge positive impact for the future of our world.

What is your cocktail of choice this season?
Nothing beats a midday Bloody Mary for me.

How has the gluten-free eating trend affected your menu?
Not much at all. We have a lot of offerings that do not contain gluten already. We’ve been experimenting with gluten-free pasta, but are still in the process of finding that perfect bite.

What are you most looking forward to at Dan’s Taste of Summer ClambakeMTK event?
The energy of summer Out East. Nothing compares.

Please complete this sentence: My mother would not approve of…
my lack of sleep, but she would approve of the flavor I get from anchovies.

I could survive on a desert island if I just had…
crusty bread, pata negra, stinky cheese, cornichons and cold Stella.

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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