After hosting two previous Dan’s Taste of Summer events, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, chef/owner of Butter, judge on Food Network’s Chopped, author of Old School Comfort and The Home Cook, is coming back to host Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton on Saturday, July 22.
Guarnaschelli’s mother, Maria, was an esteemed cookbook editor, so this Iron Chef has been a part of the food world her whole life. Having worked in world-class restaurants and tasted some of the finest delicacies, Guarnaschelli knows from food. It’s no wonder, then, that she will be coming back to host Taste of Two Forks—the premier summer food and wine event on the East End, now in its 7th year.
You hosted Dan’s Taste of Two Forks last year, and you’ve hosted GrillHampton—what are you most looking forward to at Dan’s Taste on the water in Mecox?
It’s so beautiful on Mecox Bay. Add the music, great local dishes and chefs and you have a winner on your hands!
What were some of the best things you sampled at past Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
I always like the offerings from some of my favorite local joints.
What stands out about the food and wine on the East End?
The flavors of the ingredients. From the great wine like Wölffer Estate Vineyards Summer White to Mecox Bay Dairy cheese to Marilee [Foster’s] superb spinach, it doesn’t get better than this.
What’s the key to a good food and wine pairing?
The flavors should enhance one another, not clash or overpower. I avoid pairing wines with fennel and asparagus. I love mushrooms, with their earthy notes, and potatoes—they make good friends with wine.
You’re releasing a new book soon, The Home Cook. What inspired you to write from this angle?
I’m a home cook—with a 9-year-old daughter—on the regular. I love finding a way to share the simple recipes that are easy enough to manage at home. It’s a big part of cooking in this country!
What dishes are you cooking at home right now [June] that feature East End ingredients?
I’m working with some spring salads that feature various ever-changing seasonal greens and herbs. Also, pasta specials that reflect local ingredients, asparagus salads, sugar snap peas and I’m waiting for tomatoes.
How did you develop the menu for your New York restaurant, Butter?
Trial and error, mistakes and many dishes. It was the greenmarket and its seasonality that grounded me.
What continues to pique your interest about cooking?
The energy of cooks, the beauty of seasonal ingredients, watching a guest enjoy their meal and even chopping chives—I take pleasure in the details too.
If you didn’t have a career in cooking, what would you be doing?
I want to be a muscle car mechanic or work in a Formula 1 “pit.”
What do you find most relaxing/rewarding about cooking in the summertime?
Finishing a tough dinner service, stepping out into the night air and taking a large sip of an ice-cold beer—that’s the best. That sip you deserve to enjoy. All chefs know that feeling.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about the joys of food?
Buy local! Know your farmer and know your dirt.
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.
Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and Dan’s GrillHampton at DansTasteofSummer.com.