Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Countdown: Timothy Lu, La Fine

Timothy Lu of La Fine restaurant in Montauk
Timothy Lu of La Fine restaurant in Montauk. Photo: Courtesy MMEink

Meet Chef Timothy Lu from La Fine in Montauk, which is operated by MMEink Hospitality Group, at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Co. on Saturday, July 22 at Fairview Farm in Mecox. Another chef, the incomparable Alex Guarnaschelli, will host this expansive tasting event.

Would you agree that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked?
Everyone’s crazy and overworked; it just varies to what degree. For us chefs it’s all about repetition until we can perfect a certain technique, until we can reach that perfect balance, until that moment your dish has reached perfection. Nine out of ten times ideas will fail, but it’s that constant strive for excellence that makes one overworked and crazy. I guess that makes me insane.

How old were you when you knew that you’d have a career in food?
After ranking in a national culinary competition held in Las Vegas at the age of 18, I took the winnings as an initiative to attend culinary school. After less than a month of culinary school, I made the decision to drop out and move back to New York City to work in the kitchen brigade of David Bouley. Ranking in the culinary competition was pure luck, it sent me in the right direction. Working under Michelin-starred Bouley was the true moment that I had realized this was the right path for me. I can remember that exact moment as well as my first day starting out as a commis [chef].

Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
Being a local restaurant called La Fine, which is managed by MMEink Hospitality, they want us to source from all the local places. That’s the beauty of Long Island! With everything being so close, it gives the corporate office the chance to support and showcase all the local farms’ and vineyards’ products.

What crop could local farmers grow that you would be excited to use?
Not sure if this is possible yet—but black and white truffles! I would shave them on my cereal in the morning, and my ice cream at night.

If you got a tattoo tomorrow what would it depict?
I have an unfinished tattoo of a flying dragon on my chest wrapping around my arm since 2009, I think I should finish that before getting more.

Tell us about the best or most surprising thing you’ve ever eaten.
The most surprising things I’ve ever eaten were donkey meat in Beijing, guinea pigs in Peru and a hotpot of alligator, turtle and snake in South America.

What do you have in your kitchen that would make another food pro jealous?
High standards and a Michelin-caliber chef.

What local ingredients will you be using in the high summer season?
Billy Bob’s corn, probably, for a sea urchin & corn risotto with summer truffles. I also love using tomatoes, peaches, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries! Pectin galore.

I could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: unsalted butter, olive oil, salt, white peppercorns, Jerez vinegar.

What are you most looking forward to about being a part of Dan’s Taste of Two Forks?
Super excited to be a part of the Hamptons/Montauk culinary scene and showcasing the skills and technique that my team and I bring from the city!

A portion of ticket proceeds for Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE) a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns.

For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com.

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