Dan’s GrillHampton Countdown: Oxomoco Chef/Owner Justin Bazdarich

Oxomoco chef/owner Justin Bazdarich, Photo: Courtesy Oxomoco
Oxomoco chef/owner Justin Bazdarich, Photo: Courtesy Oxomoco

You’ll want to meet Kansan Justin Bazdarich, Chef/Owner of Brooklyn’s über-popular Oxomoco, and taste his work at Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef on Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. Bazdarich says, “Summer is my favorite time to cook. The markets are at their fullest and most bountiful. The flavors of all these fresh seasonal ingredients are easy to prepare on the grill. Being outside and cooking is the best.” It’s the best indeed, but which team will pull ahead in this cooking competition—Team NYC or Team Hamptons? Come out and see!

When not attending Dan’s Taste of Summer events, Bazdarich suggests,Have fun and eat what’s fresh and local—go to your local farm stand daily and buy what you will eat that day.”

What’s a method that you refuse to use?
I don’t sous vide. I’ve found, with practice, that you can achieve the same textures by being attentive and careful.

What piece of equipment do you treasure?
The wood-fired grill! The flavor cannot be achieved in any other way.

Where are you from?
I’m from Kansas and spent a lot of time in Missouri. My grandparents had a farm and so I have early memories of summer produce and being in the field picking tomatoes. This is where the strong passion grows to have the best produce and source the best products.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
I love to make myself a simple pasta with tomato sauce and basil, Parmesan cheese and a side of Italian sausage. This is a dish my parents made while I was a kid and I still make to this day.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating at a Chinese restaurant called the Dragon Inn in Kansas City. It was all red and had lots of dragons. We ate beef and broccoli and had wonton soup. Very exciting!

Who inspired your career the most?
Gregory Brainin from Jean-Georges restaurants. He took me under his wing and showed me what I had to do to make great food and then how to manage my people to do it. Very valuable.

What’s the most unusual substitution you’ve ever been asked to make?
Pizza without gluten! Wish we had two ovens to happily oblige the gluten-free community.

Do you eat at your own restaurant?
I often eat at my own restaurants. I have learned that you need to create a menu that’s not pretentious in any way, so that it can be available to all palates.

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Be humble. You can learn from a person on their first day, [and] a person who has been doing it for 50 years. Your way may not always be the best.

What’s your definition of “succulent?”
Hitting all flavor profiles and textural elements, your mouth needs to water. I always have some sort of spice heat in a dish.

What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
An original idea—these days that seems hard to come by. Or you’d have to craft your own spirits.

What’s your favorite beverage to take on an East End picnic?
Cucumber lemonade.

What’s your favorite thing about Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
Cooking outside and people watching! This guy doesn’t get out of the city too much.

Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef is Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. GA tickets are $99 for admission 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m. to see East End chefs pitted against NYC chefs in a one-of-a-kind cooking competition and tasting event. Enjoy an epic live performance by Long Island’s most popular band: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot—Celebrating The Music of Billy Joel! VIP tickets are $175 and include early access beginning at 7 p.m.; admission to the Waterfront VIP Lounge with special treats and more! Tickets, and info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events at DansTaste.com.

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