Dining Features

Dan’s Rosé Soirée Countdown: Tom Schaudel of Jewel

He shares his favorite eats, recent travels and epic Perry Mason adventure.

Jewel chef and owner Tom Schaudel is no stranger to the East End food scene, having founded many restaurants in both the Hamptons and on the North Fork over the years. Schaudel is excited for Dan’s Rosé Soirée on Sunday, May 26.

First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer:”
The season kick-off.

You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?
It would have to be four. Both sets of my grandparents, and in honor of my paternal grandmother, the menu would have to be roasted pork, mashed potatoes, buttered-smashed turnips, chopped spinach with bacon, apple fritters and a natural jus. Chocolate pudding for dessert.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?
Fish, in any manner or form, and yes, I do.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Stop whining, get up off your ass and try it again.

Share your funniest/most unforgettable/oddest kitchen incident.
Years ago, I worked with a chef named “Shorty.” Shorty had a fifth grade education, the ability to drink three bottles of vodka a day and a penchant for carrying unlicensed firearms. One night, he shot up the ceiling of a local restaurant lounge, for some undisclosed reason, and hit a water line and flooded the bar. He was duly arrested. The owner of our restaurant decided to let him cool his heels in the slammer for a few days before bailing him out.

The following week, after the bail was posted, I went to pick him up. He told me a story about how no one in jail would mess with him and that he was the alpha male, yada yada. I asked him, “Did you mention to your fellow inmates that you were charged with murdering an air conditioning unit?” After threatening my life at the top of his lungs, he got quiet and said, “Boy, you gotta help me out here, I got priors.” I asked him, “What? You killed a washing machine and a toaster oven or something.” He was as mad as I ever saw him, and that’s saying something. The only reason I’m alive to tell the story is that he needed me. He said, “You gotta make a phone call for me.” I said, “Okay, who do you want me to call?” He said—and I swear this is true—“Perry Mason.” I said, “What?!” He said, “Perry Mason! He’s the only %$#@&* that can get me off of these charges. The man ain’t never lost a case.”

There’s more to the story, and I’ll tell you the rest when I see you, but Shorty was dead sure Perry Mason was a real lawyer and the only one in America who could clear him of the charges. It took three of us two hours to convince him that Perry Mason wasn’t a real lawyer, but a figment of Erle Stanley Gardner’s imagination. I have a million Shorty stories for those who are interested.

Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
Tim Cushman from O Ya restaurants in NYC and Boston. He took the concept of sushi, which has always been the provenance of Japanese chefs, combined the techniques with an American sensibility and just killed it. If you’ve never been, you should go—now!

What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?
Someone actually ordering something that’s on the menu.

What are your hobbies/passions/interests outside the world of food, wine and work?
Grandkids, golf.

Tell us a secret…
I thoroughly enjoy Buffalo wings, and I’m addicted to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. There…I said it.

What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a diner?
You’ve gotta be kidding, right?

What’s the ultimate cocktail?
White Burgundy.

What talent would you most like to have?
Caricature artist.

What’s your comfort food and why?
Meatloaf, because it reminds me of my mother.

What recent travels have you taken that have inspired you?
Italy. No matter how many times you go, you always taste something special.

What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever tasted?
So many things that it’s hard to narrow it down to one. A lot of times it’s not only what you’ve tasted, but who you were with and where you were. There are literally hundreds of things I could name, but for the sake of this article I’ll say, a humble but perfect dish of pappardelle with wild boar, at Cinghiale Bianco, in Florence.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My daughter.

What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
Putting CD players through the dishwasher.

If you were not in the food or wine business, what would you be doing?
Hopefully music.

What has surprised you the most about working in the East End culinary scene?
The support of like-minded people. There’s very little drama or skullduggery. We all sort of root for each other—at least I think we do.

What is your go to karaoke song?
“Tequila.”

It’s your last weekend on earth—what’s the menu?
Foie gras on citrus-scented French toast with mango and pickled lime, ricotta gnocchi with lobster and black truffle, skate wing with corn tomato, fingerlings and verjus glaze.

We just handed you a glass of bubbly. Now please make a toast to summer on the East End:
Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. Here’s to a successful season for all.

For more on Jewel, visit jewelrestaurantli.com. For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteOfSummer.com.

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

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