Of course Stephan Bogardus, Executive Chef of The North Fork Table & Inn (NFTI), will be one of the East End’s top chefs preparing the once-in-life-time repast to honor the doyenne of North Fork dining, Chef Claudia Fleming, at Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork hosted by The Halyard at Sound View Greenport on Saturday, July 7. Fleming co-founded the NFTI with her late husband and NFTI executive chef Gerry Hayden, who trained Bogardus. NFTI chefs share a deep appreciation for farm-to-table cooking. As Bogardus says, “We feature the pristine bounty of the North Fork at the restaurant. I plan my menus ahead of the given season, so we’re ready to highlight the product. The challenge we issue to ourselves is to not use the same technique with the same product as we did the year prior.” The July 7 meal will feature wine pairings, Bogardus points out, “Just like food, a beverage with complexity is impressive.”
You can also meet Bogardus and sample his art at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company on Saturday, July 21 at Fairview Farm at Mecox.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Slow growth is the most sustainable. Learning how to do something is merely a step. To become an expert takes many trials and failures. Work to progress a little bit every day. Work hard and remain persistent. I love teaching my cooks and watching them. I love to cook everything on the menu but when I see a cook struggle at first and learn through guidance to excel at the task later, a joyfulness fills my heart.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised on the North Fork, in Cutchogue.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Mom’s chicken pot pie. She made the base out of celery root from scratch. I still ask her to cook it for me on my birthday. I cook with love, passion and joy, just like my mother did. Memories of how she acted while she was cooking inform how I use memories to influence my actions today.
What’s special about being part of the North Fork culinary community?
Everything. Beauty is all around us and the people who make up the community are all so passionate. The raw products available stand out the most and the people who produce them help to make the vegetables special.
What are you most looking forward to about the Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork event?
Getting to see all of my friends—chefs don’t get enough time together. Events help us create our community and I really enjoy seeing everyone!
How would you describe the evolution of the North Fork dining scene?
There’s a lot of fruit to be picked. I just hope everyone continues to refine and evolve what they do so they stick around long enough to keep filling their baskets.
Who influenced your career the most?
I have always admired Thomas Keller. I worked very briefly for him at his New York restaurant. His dedication to refinement and progress is a very strong inspiration for me.
Do you ever eat at your own restaurant on your days off?
Rarely. I like to enjoy the CSA my partner and I share. We cook together and watch the sun set.
What does the term “taste of summer” bring to mind for you?
Salt water—I love to swim and it makes me want oysters!
What would you like our readers to know about dining, and drinking, on the East End this summer?
Sit back, relax and have fun—there are plenty of places on the East End to do so!
Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork hosted by The Halyard at Sound View Greenport is Saturday, July 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $150 and are on sale now at DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.