Del Posto alum Matthew Abdoo, now the executive chef/owner of Pig Beach in Brooklyn, will be working hard for Team NYC at Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef on Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. Top East End chefs are pitted against NYC chefs in this one-of-a-kind cooking competition and tasting event. Abdoo’s advice for dining and drinking on the East End this season? “Go and embrace it all!” Just the kind of gusto you’d expect from a chef who defines succulent as “a Kelly Dallas Hogapolooza Cooked Whole Hog.” And a taste of summer as “grilling, barbecue, tomatoes and corn!”
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Anything pasta or pizza, because I love to eat it!
Where are you from?
Upstate New York. I’m half Italian and half Lebanese. Family and food were the focus of our home. Every bit of my youth and home experiences influence my work everyday. Food was love and I LOVE to embrace our guests with the food we cook!
What’s your earliest food memory?
Making pancakes with my dad when I was 5 years old. He flipped one in the pan and I was hooked! I wanted to do it so bad that every Sunday we would make pancakes and after a few years and hundreds of pancakes broken on the stove, and dropped on the floor, I finally did it and was soo excited!
What’s the most dangerous dining experience you’ve witnessed?
I was at a restaurant where they did tableside make- your-own s’mores. The fire source they used fell over and set our table on fire!
How does living on the East End inform your culinary creativity?
Seasonality and locality play a huge part in what we cook. What’s available at peak season is what we prefer to cook with.
What inspired your career the most?
My mom and grandma’s love for family and food.
What Long Island beverage are you drinking these days?
Wölffer Estate Vineyards Dry Rosé Cider.
What’s the most unusual substitution you’ve been asked to make?
My goal as a chef and restaurant operator is to make every guest that walks through our doors happy. I’m always happy to make substitutions if I’m able to, so for me I don’t find them unusual. I have, however, found a few allergies to be unusual, such as allergies to “salt” or “sugar.”
Do you ever eat at your own restaurant on your days off?
Generally I don’t eat at our restaurants on my days off. But [when] I have family or friends in town and they want to eat there, I find that I’m always pleased with how hard my team works and how great of a job they do!
What piece of equipment do you treasure?
Instant read thermometer.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Have humility, show up early, work hard, be eager to learn—sometimes learning what NOT to do is as important as learning how to do something right.
What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
Someone who has the passion to craft a drink in the same way a chef prepares a dish, made with fresh, good quality ingredients.
What’s your favorite thing about Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
The people, the chefs, the food and the drinks!
Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef is Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. GA tickets are $99 for admission 8–10:30 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 at 7 p.m.; admission to the Waterfront VIP Lounge with special treats and more! Tickets and info at DansTaste.com.