Robby Beaver, the chef/owner of Greenport’s renowned Frisky Oyster, is delighted to be among the top East End chefs gathering to honor the doyenne of North Fork dining, the North Fork Table & Inn’s Chef Claudia Fleming, at Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork hosted by The Halyard at Sound View Greenport on Saturday, July 7. He says, “I’m excited to be working alongside my creative, talented, and inspiring peers. I’m also looking forward to being surrounded by a group of guests that celebrate and support the evolving food culture of the North Fork, while honoring one of its first innovators, the lovely Mrs. Fleming.” Indeed, these outstanding chefs are preparing a once-in-a-lifetime meal with wine pairings for the East End’s top foodies.
What’s the most unusual menu request you’ve entertained?
I was asked to do a mash-up of our Oysters Friskafella and Filet Mignon. It turned out pretty incredible.
How does living on the East End inform your cooking and culinary creativity?
Living in Aquebogue, I have the benefit of driving the length of the North Fork on my way to the restaurant in Greenport, which allows me the opportunity to keep my eyes open for the evolving availability of fresh produce, seafood and wine. I drive past so many markets, farmstands and wineries.
How would you describe the evolution of the North Fork dining scene?
In the past five years there has been an increased emphasis on farm-to-table cooking, in alignment with the growing number of small farms.
What’s special about being part of the North Fork culinary community?
We’re lucky to have a very receptive and curious audience from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Where are you from?
I moved from my hometown of Richmond, Virginia to the North Fork just over a decade ago. My memories of simple, satisfying home cooking definitely influence my cooking today.
What’s your earliest food memory?
When I was 6 years old I learned how to tend a garden from my father, a second-generation farmer and landscaper. I loved participating in the process of planting a row, tending the crops, then harvesting and helping cook the produce. I can still remember the pure flavor of freshly prepared vegetables.
Who has inspired your career the most?
Right now, my youngest child is a big inspiration. His intolerance of dairy coincided with the shift I’ve noticed in the past few years of an increasing concern and care for what we eat. While dietary restrictions and allergies will always exist, I appreciate the requests for substitutions, or exclusions, from my guests who have made informed choices about their health. I’m proud to be able to offer specific menu items, as well as manipulate most of my menu for any special request. I invite anyone to try my dairy-free tres leches cake or vegan “crab” cakes!
Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
Croteaux Vineyards’ Chloe Sparkle Sauvignon Blanc Rosé, Paumanok Vineyards’ Chenin Blanc, Macari Vineyards’ Cabernet Franc.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
I love catching, filleting, and crisply pan searing striped bass because it tastes like the quintessential North Fork food.
Do you eat at your own restaurant on your days off?
Of course—I like the opportunity to put myself in the position of my diners, with fresh eyes on the dishes we put out. My biggest impression is how appreciative I am of my staff, because of their dedication and professionalism.
What’s your definition of “succulent?”
Something savory and mouthwatering, like a classic, messy, summer tomato sandwich with lots of mayo—like I used to eat over the sink, with my grandma.
What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
The art of selecting and concocting the delicate balance of housemade components, then crafting the final product.
What does the term “taste of summer” bring to mind for you?
KK’s the Farm’s heirloom tomatoes and spinach, Wells Farm’s asparagus, Satur Farms’ zucchini blossoms, Peconic Bay striped bass and lobster, Lavender by the Bay, Oysterponds Farm’s berries, North Fork rosé, Sep’s Farm’s corn, and all of the oysters!
Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork hosted by The Halyard at Sound View Greenport is Saturday, July 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets to this event are now sold out, but tickets to the rest of Dan’s Taste of Summer are available at DansTasteofSummer.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.