Dan’s ClambakeMTK Countdown: Chef Michael Kaplan, Two Forks

Chef Michael Kaplan of Two Forks
Chef Michael Kaplan of Two Forks. Photo: Courtesy Two Forks

Meet New York’s Two Forks restaurant chef Michael Kaplan at Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian on Saturday, July 8. As Kaplan says, “I’m really looking forward to tasting some great food and sharing Two Forks with Montauk. I think it’s important to always think outside the box. In the case of this clambake, bringing all different chefs with different culinary perspectives should make for an exciting culinary twist. I think our dish will be interesting for a clambake, as seafood won’t be our highlighted focus.”

Two Forks is a new fast casual restaurant near Bryant Park which is on a mission to “pair all natural, slow-cooked meats with seasonal slaws and globally inspired sauces” sourcing ingredients from farms that support dedicated growing practices.

Two Forks staff hand-cuts slaws and prepares small batch sauces, daily in-house. They say that they “take pride in the slow cooking process behind our sandwiches and bowls and promise that your food will always be cooked slow and pulled fast!” As Kaplan says, “When in doubt of what to eat and drink, think locally, it’s always a great pairing.”

How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food?
I don’t remember the exact age that I decided upon a career in the culinary field, but from as early as I can remember, I’d been cooking with my mom and was always intrigued by restaurant kitchens I had the opportunity to see.

Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
Yes, I would totally agree. In order to survive in a restaurant kitchen, one must be able to endure incredible pressure, stress, heat and, often, pain.

The restaurant business is 24/7 and although I’ve never been a farmer, I’m sure many of those same hurdles are faced by farmers all over the world. Our guest’s experience starts at the farm and therefore their jobs are most important.

If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: a fork. I have one, but with a restaurant named Two Forks, having only one seems like something is missing.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?
A linguine vongole topped with bottarga in Istanbul. A chef and mentor made it for me and I’ll always remember eating it.

What do you have in your kitchen that would make another food pro jealous?
We take a rather simplistic approach towards cooking, so I’m not sure any of our ingredients would come as a surprise, but perhaps our Rational ovens would excite some chefs.

What local ingredients will you be using in the high summer season?
Watermelon and corn.

I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, chili and anchovies.

A portion of proceeds from ClambakeMTK benefits The Retreat, which provides safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and works to break the cycle of family violence.

Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Summer upcoming events this summer—the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio 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 presented by Pat LaFrieda (July 21), celebrating its 5th anniversary; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Co. (July 22), now in its 7th year—at DansTaste.com. Follow Dan’s Taste of Summer on Facebook, on Twitter @DansTOS17 and Instagram @DansTasteofSummer. Event Hashtags: #DansTOS, #RoseSoiree, #MonTaco, #ClambakeMTK, #GrillHampton and #TasteofTwoForks.

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