Sybille van Kempen, cookbook author and proprietress of the Loaves & Fishes Food Store in Sagaponack and the Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant and the Loaves & Fishes Cookshop, both in Bridgehampton, certainly has a lot on her plate! She explains her huge success in this tough business in part by sharing that “[when I was] 28, I switched careers from retail management to culinary. I obtained my chef’s degree and learned all about wines in school as well. My graduation project was a full business plan for a wine bar!”
You might well look forward to meeting this culinarian at Dan’s Rosé Soirée on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28) at the Southampton Arts Center and sampling her fine offerings—because, as she says—“Sharing with others is the very reason we’re here!”
The offerings of the Loaves & Fishes Food Store in Sagaponack have been famously following the seasons since 1980, when van Kempen’s late mother Anna Pump bought the store. At the Bridgehampton Inn’s restaurant, van Kempen’s self-proclaimed “baby,” which she opened on the first floor of the Inn in 2014, the team creates a new dinner and bar menu every other week. So van Kempen may well be THE perfect person to answer the perennial question: Is fine dining dying or just going through a transformation? She assures, “fine dining is alive, well and thriving, no longer so serious, it’s now fun and the quality of ingredients has jumped ahead by leaps and bounds.” At the Bridgehampton Inn’s restaurant this is gospel—top quality, local food, uniquely crafted cocktails, antiques, bright orange décor details—it has the “fun” and “quality” all wrapped up.
Why all the emphasis on local produce and wine? As van Kempen points out, “The freshest and most flavorful ingredients will come from your nearest location when the products are in peak season. Growers and artisans produce lovingly and with utmost integrity for their own community.”
My favorite dish to pair with a fine rosé this season is: artichoke fritters with caper aioli.
What Long Island wines are currently in your home wine library?
Macari Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Palmer Vineyards Albarino and Old Roots Merlot
What’s your favorite rosé?
Domaine Marc Delienne from Burgundy, 2015 Beaujolais Rosé, Le Petit Ami, Gamay grape
What do you have in your pantry that would make another food or wine pro jealous?
Home canned bread-and-butter pickles and an older bottle of Opus One.
What concepts have you learned recently that you’re eager to use in your work?
Incorporating more traditional Italian cooking techniques
I could create a fine meal with just these several ingredients: Iacono Farm chicken liver, bacon, onion, parsley, asparagus, salt, pepper, Macari Vineyards Merlot.
As this expert points out, “food preparation need not be complex or difficult. Go to market and choose some delicious and in-season fresh items—then step into your kitchen to create simple culinary magic. Let the ingredients shine.”
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 DansTasteofSummer.com.