Dining Features

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Countdown: Red|Bar Brasserie Executive Chef Todd Jacobs

Freshness is his focus.

Todd Jacobs, Executive Chef of Southampton’s Red|Bar Brasserie is looking forward to “seeing my friends and, now, their adult children sometimes in their place” at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company on Saturday, July 21 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. The phrase “taste of summer” brings to mind very specific items to Jacobs: corn, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. As he says, “farm fresh vegetables are the highlight of the summer.” Now you really want to taste his cooking, so join us.

Do you ever eat at your own restaurant on your days off?
Yes—life is good!

Where are you from?
I was born and raised here on Long Island. Memories of my grandmother’s cooking from the garden and telling stories about growing up on a farm in West Virginia, without indoor plumbing or electricity, made me appreciative of the clean flavors of our local, organic produce.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating cherry tomatoes picked right off the vine.

Who inspired your career the most?
Chef Noga Christiani, my basic cooking teacher at the French Culinary Institute in 1986. On the first day of cooking school a student overcooked his blanched broccoli and when confronted said “isn’t it good enough?” Chef Noga thundered “Nothing’s ever good enough unless it’s perfect! As soon as you say the words ‘good enough’ you’re f@#$&*%! Almost is good enough today and then what’s good enough tomorrow? Before you know it, you’ll be making the same shit as the rest of the restaurants out there! Perfect is good enough and everything else sucks!” I spent the first eight weeks of cooking school with him and rarely saw him after that, but I still hear those words every time I say to myself “that’s good enough.”

Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
Paumanok Vineyards, Bedell Cellars, Macari Vineyards & Winery, Wölffer Estate Vineyard—Long Island’s first certified organic wines from the Farrm in Calverton are outstanding.

What are some unusual substitutions you’ve been asked to make?
Sometimes I laugh at things like “is your sea salt certified organic?” or “I can’t eat dairy, except in mashed potatoes.” It’s all good. I like to make things however people want them and I don’t ever get offended.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
Anything that I’ve never done before. It’s fun and exciting to do new things, and rather rare after
30 years in the kitchen.

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Follow your heart and trust your intuition.

What ingredients do you treasure?
White truffles and Beluga caviar.

What’s your definition of “succulent?”
Fresh shrimp, with the heads, slow cooked in garlic and oil, with a touch of lemon.

What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
Super premium unflavored spirits and fresh ingredients to make the infusion, or mix into, the cocktail.

What’s your favorite beverage to take on an East End picnic?
Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s rosé—it’s delicious and refreshing and goes with everything.

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, presented by Farrell Building Company, proudly spotlights the bounty of the North and South Forks, featuring tastings from top restaurants, chefs and purveyors on Saturday, July 21 at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, located on beautiful Mecox Bay. Come celebrate our 8th annual premier East End summer event. GA tickets are available now for $195 and grant you access to all you can eat and drink from 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. Patrons must be 21 years or older to attend.

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