First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer.”
Corn, strawberry, tomato and cucumber.
You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?
Roasted chicken, garlicky mashed potatoes and piles of roasted vegetables. Vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream as dessert. Tina Fey. Steve Martin. Tom Hanks.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?
One of my absolute favorite things in the world are chocolate chip cookies. They have the ability to make everyone happy. Simplicity at its finest.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Just because you are a woman and a chef, it does not mean that everyone is going to, or has to, like you.
Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
There is an insurgence of strong female leaders in the food/wine world right now. I would really have to say to all of the women who have come before me and refused to be seen as less than are such a great inspiration. I wouldn’t even try to narrow that down to just one. Cheers, ladies!
What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?
People are embracing the lifestyle of farm to table and good home cooking more than ever. We will be seeing a lot more of this simple, fresh cuisine going forward, and an even more casual approach to dining.
What are your hobbies/passions/interests outside the world of food, wine and work?
I love traveling—small trips and excursions have always been a source of happiness. Exploring other places and all the fun, beautiful experiences they have to offer.
Tell us a secret…
I want to like seafood, I really do try, but I can’t stand it.
What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a diner?
I think at this point in my career, I have seen so many things that I don’t even flinch anymore.
What’s the ultimate cocktail?
A perfect margarita, rocks, no salt.
What’s your comfort food and why?
I love pasta. It’s simple, quick to prepare and extremely versatile. You can never go wrong. And spinach and artichoke dip—I will order it every time I see it. It’s cheese pretending to be vegetables and I can really respect that.
What recent travels have you taken that have inspired you?
I was recently in Newport, RI. It is such a beautiful and interesting city. The food scene there is really inspiring, from fine dining to the neighborhood bars. They all have something unique and delicious to offer. Dinner at Castle Hill, Stoneacre Brasserie (made it there twice in one trip) just to name a
What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
I think I probably go through more gloves than anyone I have ever worked with. Other than that, I’m pretty normal.
What has surprised you the most about working in the East End culinary scene?
The support and abundance of local purveyors. Everyone really tries to help and encourage each other out here.
It’s your last weekend on Earth—what’s the menu?
Nachos from Painters Restaurant in Brookhaven, crispy chicken tacos, crunchy beef tacos and margaritas from Swell Taco in Babylon or Patchogue, mushroom soup and any pasta from The Trattoria in St. James, the kielbasa plate from Dutch Ale House in Saugerties, churrasco from Casa Del Campo in North Babylon, French onion soup from Cafe Joelle in Sayville, French toast and any omelet from Maureen’s Kitchen in Smithtown, chicken vindaloo and bindhi masala from The Curry Club in East Setauket, black and white cookies from Manhattan Sweets in Islip. There are so many countless items from so many amazing places I have eaten, but these are the major highlights.