Dino Vlacich, Executive Chef of Full House Organic Kitchen in Greenvale, is looking forward to meeting you—and feeding you—at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center. As he says, “We’re open seven days a week, so I don’t get a day off. We have an open kitchen, so I can talk to the customers and get to know them personally. I’ve learned that there’s a shortage of, and a tremendous appetite for, healthy, organic food options on Long Island, especially with many different kinds of eaters within the same family. One person might be a vegetarian, while another is gluten-free. They tell us how challenging it is to figure out what to make for dinner, and they thank us every day for having such a diverse menu, with something for everyone.” This is Vlacich’s first Dan’s Taste of Summer event, “It’s the first time I’m attending, so I’m excited to experience the variety of foods and wines and meet the other chefs—and patrons.”
How do memories of home continue to influence your work?
I’m from Astoria, Queens. My family is from Rome and Croatia. I grew up watching my mother cook. She cooked for restaurants as well as for the family. She only used the best ingredients, and preparing good food was her way of showing her love. It’s the European way.
What’s your earliest food memory?
When I was about five years old, I remember watching my mother make fresh pasta in the kitchen. It was a fascinating process.
Who inspired your career the most?
I have to say my mother. I started working in our family restaurant when I was 12, and watched her cook. It made me fall in love with both the pressure and the artistic expression of working in the kitchen.
Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
I enjoy the chardonnay from Old Brookville and the Vidal Blanc Ice Wine from Duck Walk Vineyards.
What’s the most unusual substitution you’ve ever been asked to make?
I was once asked to substitute ketchup for the cognac mushroom sauce on a filet mignon.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
We make an organic roasted gluten-free eggplant Parmesan that tastes as good—if not better—than any you’ve had. We don’t use bread or flour and we don’t fry it, so it doesn’t weigh you down. And, because every ingredient is certified organic, there’s a healthy freshness to the dish.
What does the phrase “taste of summer” bring to mind?
Cucumbers and tomatoes and making a fresh gazpacho—or using them in a simple salad—is the ultimate taste of summer for me.
What ingredient do you covet?
I’d love to have branzino at the restaurant, but I can’t put it on the menu if it’s not organic.
What’s a piece of equipment that you refuse to use?
A deep fryer. We don’t fry anything at the restaurant. It goes against our philosophy and organic approach.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
I think it’s important for chefs to be more mindful of how the ingredients they source are grown, and to push for more organic practices. People are questioning where their food comes from, and they want healthy options. We have a responsibility to listen to them, and to be a voice of change in the food industry in general.
What’s your definition of “succulent?”
Mouthwatering, flavorful and decadent! For me, our pulled pork comes to mind.
What’s your favorite beverage to take on an East End picnic?
A bottle of perfectly chilled Chardonnay.
What else would you like our readers to know about dining, and drinking, on the East End this summer?
Full House Organic is going to be on the East End for the first time this summer with some of our prepared foods, and are also introducing our certified organic meal plan, which is designed by our in-house dietician.
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include event entry from 5 to 8 p.m. PLUS access to the Rosé After Dark VIP After Party Presented by The Palm by Whispering Angel, from 8 to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.