PawPaw Chef Taylor Knapp Joins Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork

Taylor Knapp at Peconic Escargot in Cutchogue
Taylor Knapp at Peconic Escargot in Cutchogue, Photo: Courtesy Taylor Knapp

Taylor Knapp is both the chef at PAWPAW, the popular pop-up hosted by Bruce & Son in Greenport, and founder of the Cutchogue snail farm Peconic Escargot, which supplies top East End restaurants. He wants summer diners to know, “We’re glad you’re here, come back again in the winter.”

You can meet Knapp at his sunny best along with other top East End chefs as they gather to honor the doyenne of North Fork dining, the North Fork Table & Inn co-founder Chef Claudia Fleming, at Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork hosted by The Halyard at Sound View Greenport on Saturday, July 7. It will be a night to remember, featuring a once-in-a-lifetime meal with wine pairings.

But, like many of the participants, Knapp is most looking forward to “hanging with all my chef buddies.”

A toast to that!

What inspired your career the most?
My short stint at Noma in 2010 was a turning point in the way I think about food and how it’s prepared. Chef and co-owner Rene Redzepi was a huge influence. A dish of potatoes and foraged greens means more to me than how many ounces your giant steak or burger is. We pull our influence and inspiration directly from the landscape and the ingredients being produced here. The waters, farms, and woods have a direct impact on the food we create.

Where are you from originally?
Indiana. Memories of hiking and foraging with my grandfather continue to influence the food we produce at PAWPAW. Our menus are inspired by what’s being farmed and fished locally, as well as ingredients that can be foraged directly from the North Fork landscape.

What’s your earliest food memory?
My nana’s strawberry rhubarb pie with heaps of freshly whipped cream. 

What’s special about being part of the North Fork culinary community?
The relationships that are built with the local farmers and producers. It’s exciting to get to know them and understand why they do what they do.

How would you describe the evolution of the North Fork dining scene?
From bland to boujee!

Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
Lenz Winery, Paumanok Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, really anything we can get our hands on.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Anything with Crescent Duck Farm duck. It’s the best thing this island produces. The tongues, in particular.

What does the phrase “taste of summer” bring to mind for you?
Anything that encompasses the ingredients and general vibe on the North Fork in the summer. Lie back, slurp some oysters with a well-crafted cocktail. That kind of thing…

What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
Well thought-out. Measured. Balanced.

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Taste your food. It can’t just look pretty.

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—at press time only a few remain—and are on sale now at Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.

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