During Dan’s Taste of Summer season, we get the privilege of speaking to dozens of the finest chefs on the East End. Each one cooks or bakes with unique flavors and techniques, and their backgrounds are just as diverse. As we enter 2019, let’s take a look back at 10 of the most interesting culinary personalities featured in one or more of the numerous Dan’s Taste of Summer 2018 events, including Chefs of the North Fork, Rosé Soirée, GrillHampton, Taste of Two Forks and Corona MonTaco.
1. Calissa’s Dominic Rice
Born in Michigan and trained in San Francisco, Dominic Rice prides himself in taking advantage of the East End’s bounty to create savory Greek dishes at Calissa in Water Mill. He appeared on FOX’s Good Day New York to promote Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and cook lobster bucatini for the hosts.
2. Preston House & Hotel’s Matty Boudreau
Massachusetts native and diehard Red Sox fan Matty Boudreau won the 2018 GrillHampton Blue Moon People’s Choice Award for The Preston House & Hotel, following his victory of the 2017 Judges Choice Award for Baron’s Cove. He credits his mother for inspiring his successful career.
3. North Fork Chocolate Company’s Steven Amaral
Fellow Massachusetts native Steven Amaral made the North Fork a sweeter place when he opened North Fork Chocolate Company in Aquebogue many moons ago. His earliest food memory is learning to cook meatballs with his Italian grandma, and his latest is painstakingly crafting the impressive chocolate Winter Wonderland.
4. Cowfish’s Erick Jones
In his junior year of high school, Erick Jones’s stepfather asked him what he wanted to do with his life. While unsure of the specifics, as most teens are, he knew that he wanted to do something that made him happy. He realized then how much he enjoyed cooking, and by senior year he was teaching his friends the basics. Now, as the executive chef of Cowfish, he creates wildly inventive dishes, such as the Chicken Bada Bing with white chocolate truffle risotto.
5. North Fork Roasting Company’s Jess Morris
Southold-born Jess Morris moved to Astoria to pursue acting before returning to her undeniable gift for the culinary arts. She trained under partner Jennilee Morris and now blows people away with the incredible quality of her coffee shop cuisine.
6. Grace & Grit’s Jennilee Morris
Jennilee Morris got her start as the opening general manager at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, and now she’s co-owner of both Grace & Grit and North Fork Roasting Co. She’s a master of farm-to-table cooking and has made friends throughout the East End cooking and farming scenes.
7. Frisky Oyster’s Robby Beaver
Robby Beaver finds much of his culinary inspiration in his lactose intolerant child. He’s taken the opportunity to learn how to cook a wide variety of dishes for those with allergies and dietary restrictions, and can make substitutions for most items on the Frisky Oyster menu.
8. ALL DAY @ Breakers’ Robert Sieber
Cincinnatian Robert Sieber developed his culinary skills under the tutelage of the aptly named Chef David Cook, who imparted on him a love of Asian flavors, such as yuzu. His Pork Belly Tacos were all the rage at the 2018 Dan’s Corona MonTaco, largely due to the use of his favorite ingredient: cilantro.
9. PawPaw’s Taylor Knapp
Indiana man Taylor Knapp is the founder of Peconic Escargot and the chef at PawPaw. He owes a great deal of his culinary inspiration to his time at Denmark restaurant Noma, where he learned under renowned Danish chef René Redzepi.
10. Coral’s Alex Bujoreanu
Alex Bujoreanu, Executive Chef of Coral Tapas & Wine Bar, was born in Romania and raised in Spain, which influenced his culinary style a great deal. His smoked oysters with chorizo make for a unique pairing that is a must-try for anyone dining in East Moriches.