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. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, will be held on Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. Bistro 72, located just outside Riverhead, is a natural fit for both events as Executive Chef James Junk pursues a modern farm-to-table experience.
What fuels your creativity as a chef?
A chef is an artist. The plate is our canvas. I’m motivated by imaginative new ways of using common base ingredients and proteins and dressing them up with surprising and local ingredients from the North Fork. By utilizing the bounty of the region in our dishes at Bistro 72, we are not only able to incorporate the bright, rich, seasonal colors of Long Island, but also new flavor profiles for all to enjoy. My creativity is fueled by the gratification of guests delighted by my creations.
What local ingredients are you using right now?
Our most recent menu additions are the micro greens from Koppert Cress (Cutchogue) and sofrito marinade from Tainos Sofrito and Mojo (Calverton). The micro greens bring a delicious pop of fresh flavor and are a add beautiful garnish on many dishes. I’m also very excited about our Sofrito-Marinated Chicken. We build relationships with the locals so we can grow on the North Fork as a family.
We also use an array of local products from Braun Seafood Company (Cutchogue), Satur Farms (Cutchogue), Condzella’s Farm (Wading River), Catapano Dairy (Mattituck), Sang Lee Farms (Southold), Crescent Duck Farms (Aquebogue), East End Mushroom Company (Cutchogue), Lenny Bruno Farms (Manorville), Backyard Brine (Cutchogue), Vines & Branches (Greenport), Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish (Riverhead), and Lisa Marie’s Pasta (Deer Park). Additionally, we use many local spirits in our sauces, batters and marinades.
What do you think of the Montauk Fishburger?
The Montauk Fishburger is a great idea. We’re teaching sustainability to the students of Long Island by bringing attention to the farming and fishing culture of the East End. The fish are harvested responsibly under firm federal and state regulations and the Fishburger is a healthy alternative to what most schools currently serve for lunch.
What’s your local beverage of choice this season?
I enjoy a nice cold pint of Gypsy Red from Crooked Ladder Brewing Company or Chromatic Ale from Twin Forks Beer Company. I find these two beers to be refreshing, full-bodied.
Which of your dishes would you most like to serve to another chef?
The Atlantic Sea Scallops. The scallops, from Braun Seafood, are pan-seared to perfection. I use Sparkling Pointe white wine to make a vinaigrette that really brings them to life. They’re served atop a dollop of corn purée and finished with shaved radish, pickled red onion, and micro blossoms.
How have eating trends affected your menu?
It’s important, as an executive chef, to adapt and learn about guests’ needs and dining trends. I consider it a welcome challenge to come up with new ways of preparing dishes and using ingredients so that all guests can enjoy any item on the menu.
What are you most looking forward to at the Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
I’m excited to showcase some of our new items using local ingredients as well as to see old friends and make some new ones.
Please complete this sentence: My mother would not approve of….
the mess I make in the kitchen—the amount of pots and pans that I use because I think that, even though I’m cooking in my home kitchen, that I’m competing on Chopped. My wife doesn’t approve of this either. I try.
Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22, and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy premieres on Saturday, July 30. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For tickets and more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.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. A portion of proceeds from Harvest East End benefits Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare.