Dan's North ForkDining Features

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Countdown: Simons Center Café Executive Chef Eric Werner

All cream, no sour.

Eric Werner, Executive Chef of Simons Center Café in Stony Brook, is looking forward to 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 in Bridgehampton, located on beautiful Mecox Bay. He says, “It’s that time of year when many chef friends get together for a great cause and showcase what this amazing island has to offer. All the farms are flourishing with spectacular product and we get to showcase that. It really is an honor. It’s quite tiring feeding over a thousand people, but, just like in the kitchen when you spike that last ticket on the board, it feels sublime to have pushed through it.”

Where are you from?
Born and raised on the South Shore. Living on the Great South Bay and ocean has impacted my appreciation for our waters. There’s an organization called Green Chefs/Blue Ocean. It gives chefs and culinary students the tools they need to understand the fundamentals of sustainable seafood and to purchase, prepare and promote it in their restaurants.

How does living on the East End inform your cooking and culinary creativity?
Living only half an hour away from the farms makes it just that much easier to appreciate the bountiful fruits the island bears for us.

Who inspired your career the most?
Chef Michael Meehan. I was working at H20 when my eyes were opened to true dedication. Mike taught me to prioritize my mise en place, limit small talk to avoid careless mistakes in prep and  showed me the true passion you need working with food. It’s there where I [grew to] appreciate the farm-to-table concept religiously practiced by the late chef Gerry Hayden.

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
Dedication and passion. Without that you’ll flounder. Go work in a restaurant for one year. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than culinary school and you’ll soon realize if it’s for you or not.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
This may sound a bit…pedestrian, but a salad composed of red onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Saucisson Rosette de Lyon with olive oil and lemon juice. This was a quick and filling salad for me before dinner service. It became a salad I would make for my fellow chefs, even for Guy Reuge, while working at Mirabelle….It brings back good times and being a close family in the kitchen.

What’s an ingredient you refuse to use?
Sour cream. It’s too tangy for me. Crème fraîche or fromage blanc is the way to go.

What’s your favorite beverage to take on an East End picnic?
A cold, crisp pilsner. Some sparkling wine from Lieb Cellars or Sparkling Pointe. [And] I love to drink and cook with Wölffer Estate Vineyard Verjus.

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by chef, caterer and award-winning actor David Burtka, 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, on beautiful Mecox Bay. GA tickets are $195 and grant you access to all you can eat and drink 7:30–10 p.m. VIP tickets are $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.

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