Chef Deb Scherer of Bistro 72 in Riverhead will be at two of the five Dan’s Taste of Two Forks events this year—Dan’s Rosé Soirée on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28) at the Southampton Arts Center and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company (July 22), now in its seventh year, on Mecox Bay.
Scherer says that she’s most looking forward to the networking at Dan’s Rosé Soirée. Of course the vast selection of rosé and food can only add to her enjoyment of the event—though she’s quite happy where she is with a good supply of Osprey’s Dominion wines from Peconic (“I love Osprey. I think their wines are amazing.”) and North Fork asparagus at hand. Here’s what she had to share about her relationship with East End food culture:
Please complete this sentence: My favorite dish to pair with a fine rosé is:
roasted chicken and herbed fingerling potatoes.
Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
Local produce, in my opinion, is far superior to a supermarket product. The farmers, especially here on Long Island, take so much care to ensure only the best quality comes out of their facilities.
Seeking out local wines can be very fun. Visiting the local wineries and tasting the varieties that are offered is a great way to taste before you buy and you also can learn about how the wines are made and the differences between them. That’s not something you can achieve by going to a liquor store and reading labels and trying to figure it out on your own.
I feel that it’s so important for the community to support our local farmers and wineries. Without them it would take away our farm-to-table concepts, which East End restaurants like to do.
How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food?
I was very young, 3 or 4, when I found my love for cooking. My very first experience with the feeling of excitement and wonder was when my grandmother was making a broiled Munster cheese sandwich, which she used to make every Saturday evening, when I stayed over. She told me to watch the bread in the toaster oven so it wouldn’t burn. I remember watching the cheese start to melt and bubble and get toasty and you could smell the aroma from the cheese as it melted.
As time went on I used to watch both my grandparents cook. My grandfather, who was a chef, used to let me help him in the kitchen—my reason for becoming a chef. He planted such strong roots with me at a very young age. He taught me finesse, caring and how to put a lot of love into everything I prepare.
Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
I think there can be some truth to that. Farmers get up very early and work on their farm. They are consistently trying to come up with better ways to improve their performance, as well as their foods. Chefs too get up very early and, from the minute you wake, you’re consistently thinking about the day’s events, the weeks to come and how to bring amazing quality and taste to dishes. We spend hours doing this every day. It’s exhausting for both the farmer and the chef.
Tell us about the most surprising thing you’ve ever eaten.
A friend and I went out for sushi one evening. He had me try sea urchin. Not my favorite thing to try again, but I did try it.
Please complete this sentence: I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients:
potatoes, steak, mushrooms, roasted tomato and demi-glacé
What do you have in your kitchen or pantry right now that would make another food pro jealous?
An amazing team.
Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Summer events this summer—Dan’s Rosé Soirée, the official kickoff event of summer in the Hamptons on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28); the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio, a Mexican-themed fiesta at Gurney’s Montauk on July 7; Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, back for its second summer on July 8; Dan’s GrillHampton (July 21), celebrating its 5th anniversary; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company (July 22), now in its 7th year—at DansTasteofSummer.com.