Dan’s Rosé Soirée Countdown: Charlie Chen, Pinch Chinese

Chef Charlie Chen
Chef Charlie Chen. Photo: Courtesy Pinch

Popular New York restaurant Pinch Chinese’s chef Charlie Chen shares that, “having just moved to New York, I haven’t had a chance to explore Long Island wines, which is why I’m so excited to participate in Dan’s Rosé Soiree!” Meet Chen at the official kickoff event of summer in the Hamptons on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28). But Chen is no stranger to rosé. He says, “I love pairing our House Special Shrimp with a 2016 Hermann J. Wiemer dry rosé. The sweetness of the shrimp and peppers, with the hint of spice in our kung pao, are accentuated by the fruit qualities of the wine: strawberries, white peach and currants.”

What will Chen have to share on the plate? The possibilities are limitless because, as he says, “this will be my first summer in New York (and America), and I’m still discovering all the wonderful local ingredients available. I can’t wait to visit the green market when it’s back in full swing!”

Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
I absolutely would! I work non-stop every day, but it’s something that I’ve been passionate about for so long, so it’s never really felt like work. I’m sure farmers feel the same way about growing their produce and tending to their lands.

How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food or wine?
I grew up in Xiao Wan village in the province of Anhui during a period when many Chinese people, like my parents, struggled to find enough food to eat every day. In fact, I often went into the mountains with my parents and three siblings to look for anything edible. It was this daily battle for sustenance that inspired my culinary career. I wanted to ensure my friends and family would never go hungry again.

Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
It’s always fresher and more vibrant than anything shipped in from a distance. In China, I only shop at the local green markets, almost never at the supermarkets, and I encourage my staff and guests to do the same.

What crop could local farmers grow that you would be excited to use?
There are so many wonderful [types of] local produce from China that I can’t find here, but I’m so excited to be experiencing all these wonderful new ingredients. I hope to begin introducing them into my cuisine in the near future.

If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: a bull. Something that represents strength and passion and a desire to continue improving every day.

Tell us about the best or most surprising thing you’ve ever eaten.
The porterhouse from Del Frisco’s in New York City. It was the first American steak I’ve ever had, and it was really amazing.

What do you have in your pantry that would make another food pro jealous?
Niman Ranch St. Louis ribs—I love the deep flavor of these wonderful pork ribs.

I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: fresh local fish, ginger, scallion, garlic, vinegar. The perfect summer treat.

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 hosted by Adam Richman, Travel Channel host, author, food & travel explorer 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 DansTaste.com.

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