Alex Bujoreanu, Executive Chef of Coral Tapas & Wine Bar in East Moriches, wants to meet you under the huge tent at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company and hosted by chef, caterer and award-winning actor David Burtka on Saturday, July 21 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. He says, “I’m very excited to meet and mingle with attendees and other chefs and to introduce my food and restaurant to the guests.”
What’s the most unusual substitution you’ve been asked to make?
A guest once asked me to add meat to a vegan paella.
Where are you from?
I was born in Romania and grew up in Spain, which is where I went to culinary school. The Catalonian culture really shaped my cooking. Everything I do now is a reflection of that influence, as well as watching my mother cook for us. For example, I use chorizo in our smoked oysters, and I have the octopus flown in from Spain because, for me, it’s the best in the world.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Rosemary roast chicken. I was about five or six years old, and was watching my mother make a garlic aioli. She had me peel and clean the garlic, and I loved it. I asked her to [let me] do more. So she had me season the chicken and put it in the oven. To this day, chicken remains one of my favorite dishes.
How does living on the East End inform your culinary creativity?
Coral is located right on the water on Moriches Bay—the gateway to the Hamptons. When the partners who purchased the restaurant approached me about working here, I came out to see the place and immediately was reminded of San Sebastian, near my home in Spain. The landscape is so similar. So my culinary approach bridges the two cultures—it’s Spanish with New York influences. I’ve met a lot of fishermen, who inspire me with their local seafood. The same holds true for the local wineries and farmers. They have the same passion about their products as I have for my cooking.
Who inspired your career the most?
My mother. She was a wonderful cook, and gave each dish a unique flavor by adding a few interesting ingredients and using the best local products, without manipulating them too much.
Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
I like One Woman Wines & Vineyard and Paumanok Vineyards.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Saramura de pui. It’s a Romanian dish that’s a cross between a soup and a stew. Everything’s cooked on the grill and the flavor combination of garlic, parsley and grilled vegetables is delicious. The dish takes me back to Sunday family lunches. It’s a great cool weather dish that we put on the menu at Coral.
Do you eat at your own restaurant?
I eat at Coral often. I want to make sure we’re serving the highest quality food, and I’m always checking to see if any dishes need to be adjusted. Since we opened last summer, I’ve learned that our guests, especially first timers, are pleasantly surprised to see that we renovated the space and changed the menu concept from a super casual burger spot to a beautiful waterfront dining destination, with authentic Spanish tapas.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
It’s important to have respect for the work. This is a tough business, and only those who have real dedication, and are willing to work hard, will be successful.
Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by chef, caterer and award-winning actor David Burtka, featuring tastings from top restaurants, chefs and purveyors on Saturday, July 21 at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, on beautiful Mecox Bay. GA tickets are available now for $195 and grant you access to all you can eat and drink 7:30–10 p.m. VIP tickets are available now for $295, which includes early entrance, with access to the exclusive VIP waterfront lounge featuring special treats and more! Tickets always sell out, so buy NOW at DansTasteofSummer.com.