Dan’s GrillHampton Countdown: Chef Dominic Rice, Calissa

Chef Dominic Rice
Chef Dominic Rice. Photo: Courtesy Calissa

Dominic Rice, chef at the Hamptons’ newest Greek restaurant, Calissa, in Water Mill, is ready to throw down at Dan’s GrillHampton, celebrating its 5th anniversary. Two teams of chefs—Team Hamptons and Team NYC compete for prizes and bragging rights in this sizzling tasting event. As he says, “If you want to be the best, you have to the beat the best, so a little competition on a level field doesn’t scare me.”

How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food?
I started at 15 in the FOH (Front of House), I loved the excitement of the unknown. After I left the hospitality industry and went to college it was hard to find an industry that I was passionate about and enjoyed. I went back to culinary school in 2004 and never looked back.

Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
Quality of product and supporting your local economy—when produce is in the height of the season I love showcasing it in its most natural form, simple and fresh.

Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
Yes, it’s the nature of the businesses, you are only as good as your last crop or dish. If you can’t execute and deliver you will not survive. For both you also have to be a little bit [of a] masochist and if that makes us a little crazy, why not?

What crop could local farmers grow that you would be excited to use?
Dutch runner beans and sucrine lettuce

If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: Definitely a no-go for me, but if I did [get one] it would have my two daughters’ initials and the Swedish chef from The Muppets.

Tell us about the most surprising thing you’ve ever eaten.
I went to Thailand on my honeymoon and had ant egg soup, not bad if you like a lot of fish sauce.

What’s the most surprisingly tasty thing you’ve ever eaten off of the grill?

What do you have in your pantry right now that would make another food pro jealous?
I make my own charcuterie, so I have an ever-rotating supply of culatello, louza or finocchiona salami.

What local ingredients will you be using in the high summer season?
corn, tomatoes, lettuces, watermelon, greens, peppers, cucumbers and more

I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: salt, pig, corn, eggs and grain.

What are you most looking forward to about being a part of Dan’s Taste of Summer?
Getting an opportunity to meet the community and introduce them to the cuisine of Mykonos.

Do you think Team Hamptons or Team NYC will fare better at GrillHampton?
It’s always an advantage to know your clientele, so I think that the Hamptons team will have the edge.

How are you going to win Dan’s GrillHampton?
Flavor, impact, and umami—no tricks just technique and TLC.

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.

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