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Meet Taste @ Port Jefferson Honoree & St. Charles Executive Chef Thomas Mulzoff

He shares about his cooking, local favorites and the healing power of food.

Fall’s premier food and wine festival, The Taste @ Port Jefferson 2018, returns to its beautiful waterside venue this Saturday, October 20 at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park. Featuring “tastes” from over 30 top area restaurants and purveyors, as well as local and international wines, beers and spirits, and live music, this year’s event honors St. Charles Hospital Executive Chef Thomas Mulzoff.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Mulzoff says he’s incredibly honored and thankful to be at this gathering of food professionals. His role as executive chef is crucial to the hospital’s mission of teaching proper eating so people are less likely to spend time in the hospital. He also works closely with three area schools to increase nutrition education.

Mulzoff took over the helm of the hospital’s food services in January, and has since been serving up smiles to patients, hospital staff and the public. He’s looking forward to seeing the area food community come together at The Taste @ Port Jefferson to benefit the Port Jefferson Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus Joan of Arc Council 1992 and the Port Jefferson Rotary.

This will be Mulzoff’s first time attending the event, and he’s not coming empty-handed. St. Charles Hospital will be serving a roast turkey dinner made with tender turkey breast, slowly simmered in buttermilk pan gravy with fresh vegetables and red potatoes, then topped with a rustic cranberry gelee and micro mirepoix. In addition, potted beef chuck roast lacquered in red wine, roasted brussel sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, and savory root vegetable cobbler with an oatmeal and asiago crumb topping will be offered to guests.

RELATED: The Taste @ Port Jefferson Menu Offers the Best of Fall Dining

What inspires your work every day?
The patients. They’re always number one. I always think that they could be my own family members. In fact my own father-in-law has been a patient here! And my wife has worked here for 10 years in Radiology; she eats my cooking every day.

Your hospital has an outstanding reputation for serving good food. What do you do to maintain your food program’s high standards?
We’re a scratch kitchen. Pretty much everything is made from scratch—we buy whole birds and break them down to make stocks, soups, sauces.

Who are some of the most important members of your team?
All of them—everyone plays a key role. We all share the same passion to put the patients first. 

How important is food in the healing process?
Very. And our room service allows the patient a measure of control and dignity. In addition to our room service program, we offer a non-select program for ER, a staff cafeteria and a public cafeteria.

What local ingredient are you cooking with right now?
Satur Farms baby arugula is featured in several of our dishes right now.

What makes a meal a celebration?
I think that the celebration is the meal. Think about Thanksgiving; it’s all about the turkey and the camaraderie. 

What are some of your favorite Long Island wines and beers?
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards in Peconic is great; my whole family celebrates Mother’s Day there every year. The new brewery in Riverhead, Long Beard Brewing Company, is great!

The 11th Annual Taste @ Port Jefferson is Saturday, October 20, at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson. VIP tickets are $99 and include one-hour early entry to the event at 6 p.m., access to the exclusive waterview VIP lounge, VIP seating area and more. General Admission is $70 and includes entry from 7 to 10 p.m. All tickets include all food and drink. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit TasteAtPortJeff.com.

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