Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Franklin Ferguson, Navy Beach

Franklin Ferguson
Photo: Courtesy Navy Beach

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 Franklin Ferguson from Montauk’s Navy Beach will be there. He might have a hard time choosing what to serve. As he says, “This season we have some really great new twists on the menu; each season we have a different ceviche prep, and some variation on a seafood stew: The Montauk Fluke Ceviche or the Catalan Suquet. In this year’s ceviche we’re using local fluke together with pickled cauliflower, baby carrots and white onions that we make in-house, with fresh lemon and hot peppers. Last year we had a Brazilian Moqueca on the menu, whereas this year we’ve introduced a Suquet, which is a saffron and cava based Catalan fish stew that we are making with monkfish, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels and almonds. We hope it’s a hit.”

What fuels your creativity as a chef?
At Navy Beach we work as a team to create each season’s menu. Every year the menu is seafood centric, with about 15 new items or preparations. In the off season we all travel and draw a lot of inspiration from those experiences. Traveling and exploring to find new foods and learning about different cooking methods is a passion for all of us and, when we return, our collaborations influence the new menu.

What local ingredients are you using right now?
We try to use local seafood and produce whenever possible, and at the moment we’re working with Gosman’s Fish Market for fluke, monkfish and tuna. We’re looking forward to working with more local farms this season, like Balsam Farms, Amber Waves Farm and Bhumi Farms for many of our dishes, as well as incorporating seasonal produce including kale, arugula, watermelon radishes, asparagus, corn, tomatoes, eggplant and whatever else the season provides in abundance.

What do you think of the Montauk Fishburger?
We’re huge Dock to Dish fans over here. It’s great that they’ve created so much awareness about local and sustainable seafood with their individual and restaurant CSA programs. We’re also friends of Eric and Sandra Ripert, they’re both fun and so creative and talented. We hope that what Eric has created with Dock to Dish and Dan Barber and the other initiative participants will lead to even more awareness about sustainable food and help create a plan for a healthier future for the school system in this area, and, eventually, nationwide.

What’s your local beverage, or cocktail, of choice this season?
We have introduced three spritzer cocktails this season, which are lighter, lower-calorie cocktails that have become popular as part of the trend towards healthier and more “conscious” eating. The Blood Orange Piscine is going to be a hit. It’s made with vodka, rosé, fresh blood orange, mint and club soda. It’s simple yet interesting, refreshing, and looks great on a beach.

This year our rosé list will be our largest thus far. In year one we had two rosés on the list. Last year we had 20, and this year we should have a few more than that!

How has the gluten-free eating trend (or other trends) affected your menu?
Well, we’ve definitely made an effort to add healthier items to our menu over the last several years to cater to those with dietary restrictions as well as guests looking for healthier options. We have kept comfort food house favorites like the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Crispy Calamari Salad and Navy Burger on the menu, but we have added new salads and lighter entrées each season. This year we have a new gluten-free salad, a butter lettuce and baby spinach salad with pumpkin seeds, feta, Medjool dates and radish, as well as other items that are gluten-free like a grilled artichoke; sautéed local skate with frisée, red onion, basil and an orange emulsion; seared Atlantic salmon with asparagus, pea shoots, and fava beans; as well as our scallop and steak dishes.

What are you most looking forward to at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks?
It’s a nice change of scenery! It’s great to get to see other restaurants and chefs and connect at the event since we’re often all so busy in season that we don’t really get out much. If we’re able to step away from the table to take a peek at what some other restaurants are producing, that’s a nice plus too.

Please complete this sentence: My mother would not approve of my use of offal, but she would approve of the flavor I get from basic spices.

I could survive on a desert island if I just had: fresh fish of different varieties, fresh vegetables and rosé.

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. VIP tickets for GrillHampton are $185 and offer early access to the event beginning at 7 p.m. General Admission, from 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m., is $135. VIP tickets for Taste of Two Forks are $295 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $185.

The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy and Eden Grinshpan premieres on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for ClambakeMTK, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to the after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m.

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. VIP tickets for Harvest East End are $285 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $135.

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.

To purchase tickets and get more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com!

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