Dan’s Taste of Summer 2016 concludes with Dan’s Harvest East End, showcasing the wines of East End winemakers paired with the dishes of top regional chefs and the foodcraft of local purveyors at the picturesque McCall Vineyard and Ranch on the North Fork. Presented by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council, this bucolic charity fundraiser celebrates Long Island wine country and benefits important regional charities. Harvest East End will be hosted by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network’s Chopped, The Kitchen, Top 5 and his newest primetime hit, Cooks vs Cons, author of celebrated cookbook My Perfect Pantry, and Chef/Owner of The Lambs Club, The National in NYC, The National in Greenwich, CT, The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City and the soon to open Georgie and The Garden Bar at Montage Beverly Hills.
Check out what Zakarian has to say about this delightful event below!
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Dan’s Harvest East End?
To me it’s about mingling with the people and listening to their opinions and questions. I love the crowds.
What are some of the most significant changes you’ve seen in Long Island Wine over the past decade?
The structures and complexities have grown. Technology has helped everyone put out a more vibrant and so consistent product.
Imagine you’re a contestant Chopped and are given red table wine, string cheese, peanut M&Ms and fingerling potatoes. What do you make?
I sip the wine and make a chocolate peanut butter raclette.
You host Cooks vs. Cons. What is the key to a home cook winning an episode?
It’s all about confidence in presenting your dish. As well as the basic of basics. Seasoning the food with authority.
What is the key to cooking with wine?
Understanding what use and type of wine goes best with each preparation. Using wine just because it’s cool isn’t the smartest choice. However you then have a bottle to drink!
What is your favorite type of cuisine, and where/what do you especially enjoy eating when you’re in the Hamptons or on the North Fork?
I love anything Mediterranean or French. Pierre’s, Round Swamp Farm, Boswicks. Simple food. Perfect products.
You’ve been an executive chef and owned several restaurants over the years—how do you keep up with changing tastes and finding the right balance in menus?
I always try to mirror my food after my own tastes largely which usually move forward quite easily with changing or modifying tastes. Change is imperceptible and slow but permanent. And you need to always remember this.
When consulting for other restaurants, what is the most important piece of advice you can give?
Make sure you focus on who you are and not be everything to everybody. If you don’t have an overwhelmingly clear view of what you want to serve or who you are, don’t bother.
What do you love most about the North Fork of Long Island?
Tranquility. Old world peace. Unspoiled beauty.
What advice do you have to offer for guests attending a wine tasting event such as Dan’s Harvest East End, with so many wines to enjoy?
Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the annual Dan’s Taste of Summer series on August 20 at McCall Vineyard and Ranch, 9325 New Suffolk Avenue, Cutchogue. For tickets and more information visit DansTasteofSummer.com.