Spiro Karachopan, chef/owner of Spiro’s Restaurant & Lounge in Rocky Point, will be coming east quite a bit this summer—much to the delight of foodies. You can meet Karachopan—and sample his food—at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center; at Dan’s GrillHampton competition and tasting event hosted by David Burtka on Friday, July 20 and at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company on Saturday, July 21, both at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton. As Karachopan says, “There’s no place like Long Island for great food, wine and cocktails. If you’re looking for what’s fresh and creative and for top-notch service, we have it.”
How do memories of home continue to influence your work?
I’m from Komotini, Greece. My mother cooked for weddings in our town back home and I helped her. That’s what got me into cooking and I still remember how much she cared and made the best dishes, which everyone loved. Every day I’m trying to make my dishes as good as hers.
What’s your earliest food memory?
My mother’s lamb stew and okra. I wish she was around to make them again.
Who has inspired your career the most?
My mother. Growing up on the farm, she grew all of our vegetables in her garden and tended the animals. The farm gave us everything we needed and my mother was a chef for the whole village.
How does living on the East End inform your cooking and culinary creativity?
I really take advantage of the availability of fresh seafood and produce that we have on the island. I go to North Fork farms to hand-pick my produce at least once a week and I love going fishing. I catch and fillet fish every morning.
Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
Paumanok Vineyards’ Cabernet Franc and Raphael’s Merlot.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Fish. I love catching, filleting and eating fish. That’s the only thing I can eat every day without getting bored.
What does the phrase “taste of summer” bring to mind?
Fresh summer fruits, artisan cheese, crisp white wine, craft beer and fresh-caught fish.
What are some of your favorite culinary necessities?
EVOO from Greece, filleting knives.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Cook healthy, don’t take short cuts. Fresh is always worth it. I’m always looking for a way to do things better because I believe that when you stop trying to improve, success will only be short-lived.
What’s your definition of “succulent?”
When a dish is tender and juicy, leaving you wanting more even when you’re no longer hungry.
What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
Fresh ingredients, the skill and creativity of the mixologist.
What’s your favorite beverage to take on an East End picnic?
If I had time for a picnic…Champagne!
What’s your favorite thing about Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
No one is in a bad mood under that tent. People walking around sipping drinks and tasting dishes with a smile—I love seeing people having fun and enjoying summer.
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 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.