Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Green Hill Kitchen’s Wolfgang Ban

Wolfgang Ban, Photo: Courtesy Agency 21
Wolfgang Ban, Photo: Courtesy Agency 21

Wolfgang Ban, owner/chef of Green Hill Kitchen in Greenport, loves the North Fork. His passion will be on display at Dan’s Rosé Soirée, Chefs of the North Fork and Taste of Two Forks.

First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer.”
Water and wine…or more specifically, rosé and the ocean.

Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
I admire every hardworking human being in this industry who stands on the line and the floor every day in service of others.

You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?
I usually prefer my guests to be alive when I’m cooking for them, so let’s go with living: God—seems a little rude not to, considering; my family, as they’re a package deal; friends and colleagues, since they’d show up anyway once they heard God was coming. For dinner it’s homemade bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and some exceptional wines.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The incredible importance of peppering every interaction in life with patience, respect and understanding. Or, at the very least, trying to bring those elements to everything you do, at work or at home. On the less advice, but more observation side, that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ sentiment really holds up, especially in today’s world!

Share your funniest/most unforgettable kitchen incident.
Years ago, a gentleman mistakenly drove his car straight through the front door of the restaurant.

What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?
One of the things I like most about the North Fork is its realness; its deep appreciation for, and connection to, the land and water. Here, the “next big thing” is, wonderfully, whatever ingredients are ready to present themselves to the world. It’s always been driven by local, seasonal availability. I hope that never changes.

What’s the ultimate cocktail?
I grew up in my family’s vineyards in Austria, and both my grandfathers made their own wine. So I’m far more passionate about wine than cocktails. That said, I’m always up for some good tequila—a little smoke and heat—preferably on the beach.

What’s your comfort food and why?
Memories of all my grandmother’s food, especially when she would cook certain dishes just for me because she knew how much I loved them.

What recent travels have you taken that have inspired you?
I love Tulum, and always leave there feeling relaxed, refreshed, inspired. On the culinary side, I’m surprised each time I visit, by the great quality, vibrant flavors, unexpected ingredients and interesting preparations.

What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
I try to start as many of my days as possible stopping by our local farms and docks across the East End. I feel it’s so important to spend time with these incredible producers, experience firsthand what’s best straight from the source, and to remain connected to the people, land and sea that make the North Fork such a spectacular destination.

It’s your last weekend on earth. what’s the menu?
Wiener schnitzel and spaetzle are always going to make an appearance. In addition, we’d have tafelspitz, goulash, wine and some pizza for good measure.

We just handed you a glass of bubbly. Now please make a toast to summer on the East End.
Cheers to all on the East End who work tirelessly year round to deliver the absolute best—be it from the farms, the waters or the vineyards. The North Fork, especially, is home to such an incredibly talented, gracious and supportive community, and we’re honored to be a part. Here’s to a wonderful, fun and sun-filled summer season with thriving, happy teams, happy guests and many happy returns. Cheers!

For more information on Green Hill Kitchen, visit greenhill.kitchen. For tickets and more on Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com.

Read more Dan’s Taste of Summer 2019 chef interviews.

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