Things are cooking at Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club—new executive chef Richard Hebson keeps it that way. You can taste some of what he’s up to at the inaugural Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio on July 7 at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Adam Richman and at Dan’s ClambakeMTK on July 8 at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian.
What do you have in your kitchen that would make another food pro jealous?
I was lucky enough to get all brand new equipment and, better yet, a competent cooking team.
How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food?
At a very young age—my grandfather was an executive chef—I grew up in the restaurant business and was always fascinated by the food industry. When I was working at the local Quiznos in Austin, Texas when I was 16 years old I decided to go to culinary school. It was the simplicity of the local eateries that inspired me to move in this direction and become a chef.
Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
As a chef you seek out local seasonal ingredients and let those ingredients shine to compose beautiful food. After spending time in certain areas, you learn what’s the best of the best and you surround your menu with these products.
What local ingredients will you be using in the high summer season?
Corn, heirloom tomatoes, black sea bass, fluke, lobster, clams, oysters, greens.
Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
Yes, to be the best at what you do it takes long, strenuous hours. Blood, sweat, tears, dedication. This business is crazy but that’s what makes its exciting.
What crop could local farmers grow that you would be excited to use?
I’m just excited about corn and heirloom tomatoes. KK’s The Farm [Southold] has the best biodynamic greens and heirlooms I have worked with in my culinary career.
If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: my right elbow [already] has a pig that has an “expiration date” of the day that I graduated culinary school.
Tell us about the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten.
Watching elderly women make actual taco shells to order [at a] gas station in south Texas, incredible experience.
I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: black sea bass, English peas, chanterelle mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, olive oil.
What are you most looking forward to about being a part of Dan’s Taste of Summer?
The experience of other chefs and seeing what they create. I’m always most inspired [when] surrounded by other chefs.
What’s one of your favorite beach drinking memories?
Being on Martha’s Vineyard, at the beginning of my career after 14- to 15-hour days, drinking beers on the pier and jumping in the ocean buzzed and doing it all over again the next day. Only people in this industry would understand.
A portion of proceeds from MonTaco and 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 events remaining this summer—the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio (July 7) at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Adam Richman, Travel Channel host, author, food & travel explorer; Dan’s ClambakeMTK (July 8) at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian—Geoffrey Zakarian is a star of Food Network’s Chopped, The Kitchen, Cooks vs. Cons, co-author of My Perfect Pantry, restaurateur behind The Lambs Club, The National in NYC, The National in Greenwich, Georgie and The Garden Bar at Montage Beverly Hills, Point Royal and Counter Point at The Diplomat Beach Resort and The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City and co-creator of Pro For Home food storage container system. Margaret Zakarian is President of Zakarian Hospitality, co-author of My Perfect Pantry and co-creator of Pro For Home food storage container system; Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda (July 21) hosted by Robert Irvine, celebrity chef, entrepreneur, philanthropist, founder of the Robert Irvine Foundation and chef/owner of Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana Las Vegas; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Co. (July 22) hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli chef/owner of Butter, Judge on Food Network’s Chopped, author of Old School Comfort Food and soon-to-be released cookbook The Home Cook—at DansTasteofSummer.com. Follow Dans Taste of Summer on Facebook, on Twitter @DansTOS17 and Instagram @DansTasteofSummer. Event Hashtags: #DansTOS, #MonTaco, #ClambakeMTK, #GrillHampton and #TasteofTwoForks.