“My upbringing made me a hard worker and very driven to do well in my career,” says Sen Restaurant’s Executive Chef Courtney Sypher. Meet Sypher at Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons on Saturday, June 29.
First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer.”
You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?
I would invite my fiancé Mark Barylski, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert and the meal would be beef bourguignon.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?
Braised short rib with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It’s one of my favorite things to eat, especially when the short rib is so tender it falls right off the bone.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on experience first—the money will come later.
Share your funniest/most unforgettable/oddest kitchen incident.
When a snowball fight broke out in the kitchen and there were wonton casualties.
What do you most admire in the food world?
The constant innovation of making the food and wine world different every day.
What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?
I think the next big thing on the East End food scene is going to be more food truck pop ups.
What are your hobbies/passions/interests outside the world of food, wine and work?
Hiking, fishing, kayaking mostly being in the wilderness.
Tell us a secret…
I love to eat ice cream for breakfast.
What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a diner?
Someone wanted hot sauce on the side for their ice cream.
What’s the ultimate cocktail?
Sen’s samurai’s edge margarita.
What’s your comfort food and why?
Eggplant Parmesan. My grandmother always made it for me when I would visit here.
What recent travels have you taken that have inspired you?
I went to Japan back in October. Japan has some of the most inspirational and colorful ideas when it comes to food.
What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever tasted?
Pasta carbonara when I was studying in Italy at the Barilla Pasta Institute. So rich and creamy without the heavy cream.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far, being the Executive Chef for Sen Restaurant.
What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
Two Red Bulls during the summer before every dinner shift.
If you were not in the food or wine business, what would you be doing?
I would have been a dietitian.
What has surprised you most about working in the East End culinary scene?
The wide variety of restaurants in a small area.
It’s your last weekend on Earth—what’s the menu?
Start with handmade cold soba noodles with wasabi, nori and scallions. Kushiyaki pork skewers and chicken yakitori skewers. The entrée would be braised short rib with mashed potatoes and oven-roasted asparagus. For dessert, panna cotta with berry coulis.