East End Chefs Roundtable: What’s Your Comfort Food?

Marissa Drago, Scott Kampf and Dominic Rice
Marissa Drago, Scott Kampf and Dominic Rice, Photo: Barbara Lassen, Karen Weissner

When times are stressful, we often turn to art, music, exercise, meditation or food to regain a sense of peace and reassurance that everything will be okay. Having dedicated their lives to the culinary arts, you can bet that our East End chefs have much to say on the topic of comfort food. Check out what dishes your favorite Hamptons, North Fork and New York City chefs are thinking about during this uncertain time, then order some for yourself by using our takeout and delivery guides.

What’s your comfort food and why?

Choucroute—beautiful pork loin, fresh and smoked—with real Polish kielbasa, potatoes, onions and a couple carrots all cooked in sauerkraut with apples and smoked bacon in a Dutch oven, slow and low, leaving the kraut light and not discolored. This is a dish that makes me think of home and my heritage. My father was a great German chef, a true craftsman. This dish on a cold winter day or during the fall is a home run! —Ronald Philipp, Executive Chef of The Maidstone in East Hampton

Spaghetti with butter and Parmesan cheese. My wife makes the best! —Marco Barrila, Executive Chef and Owner of Insatiable EATS Catering

Fried chicken—it’s the best thing on the planet to me. —Adam Lathan, Co-Founder and Executive Chef of The Gumbo Bros in New York City

Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house. It brings family together as a weekly occurrence and not just on holidays. —David Piacente, Executive Chef of Gosman’s Restaurant in Montauk

My favorite comfort food is a nice, homemade Italian dinner. It makes me think of my childhood. —Arthur Wolf, Owner and Executive Chef of Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More in East Hampton

My comfort food is warm toast with raspberry jam. I used to pick loads of raspberries with my Grandma Penny in Michigan every summer growing up. We would make enough of Grandma Penny’s raspberry jam to give to all of our friends and family to last until the next year. —Garrison Price, Executive Chef and Culinary Director of Cafe Clover and Clover Grocery in New York City

A biscuit, of course! But mine has melted butter and some of my strawberry-rhubarb jam. Fresh, hot, pretty darn perfect. —Marissa Drago, Owner of Main Road Biscuit Co. in Jamesport

Soft scrambled eggs inside a toasted tortilla with melted cheese and hummus. I like the soft eggs next to the buttery crunch of the tortilla with the garlicky hummus. The cheese is just necessary—pepper jack, cheddar, Swiss. It’s all good! —Brian Wilson, Executive Chef of North Fork Table & Inn in Southold

Pizza, in almost any form. —Jennilee Morris, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Grace & Grit and North Fork Roasting Co. in Southold

Pizza, because it’s awesome, and even when it’s not awesome, if you’re hungry enough it still works. —Adam Kaufer, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Grace & Grit

Radishes. Every year as a child my grandma would come from Florida to stay with us for a few weeks each summer. My mom would take me out to the garden and plant radishes for her the day she arrived. I remember my grandma arriving to Cutchogue, getting settled and going out to the garden for radishes very soon. Radishes bring me back to childhood, and I eat an astonishing amount of them each year. —Stephan Bogardus, Executive Chef of The Halyard at Sound View Greenport

Hot dogs from Walter’s. It brings back childhood memories. —Paul Del Favero, Chef and Owner of Harbor Market & Kitchen in Sag Harbor

Chicken and dumplings. One of the first dishes I learned to cook! —Taylor Knapp, Chef and Owner of Peconic Escargot and PAWPAW on the North Fork

Congee, because it reminds me of growing up at my home in China. Brings back a lot of memories! —Jin Ruan, Executive Dim Sum Chef of Jing Fong Restaurant in New York City

Eggplant Parmesan. My grandmother always made it for me when I would visit here. —Courtney Sypher, Executive Chef of Sen Restaurant in Sag Harbor

Burgers and fries always satisfies my craving. —Derek Axelrod, Partner of T Bar Southampton

Ice cream with peanut butter. —Matthew Birnstill, Executive Chef of The Quogue Club

Adobo, because of my wife. —Drew Hiatt, Executive Chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton

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. —Amanda Wallace, Pastry Chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton

Cornmeal crusted chicken pot pie. —Colin Ambrose, Executive Chef and Owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor

Chocolate, because it’s always in reach. —Steven Amaral, Chocolatier and Executive Chef of North Fork Chocolate Company in Aquebogue

Granola. It’s come a long way from the health food gravel it used to be. I eat it as a snack instead of ice cream or sweets. —Dominic Rice, Executive Chef of Calissa in Water Mill

Eggs. Easy to make and easy to eat. Sometimes just cereal when I’m too tired. —Elyse Richman, Owner of Shock Ice Cream in Westhampton Beach

Pasta with tomato sauce. I’ve eaten it all my life. —Justin Bazdarich, Chef and Owner of Speedy Romeo in New York City

Matzo ball soup, chicken pot pie, a pot of great tomato sauce. —Nikki Cascone-Grossman, Owner of Cheese Shoppe in Southampton

Khichdi. It’s a porridge-like dish made with rice and lentils. —Chintan Pandya, Executive Chef at Rahi in New York City

Beef and mashed potatoes, because it’s what I ate as a kid. Every other day, my dad would make a roast beef and mashed potatoes. —Brian Schlitt, Executive Chef of The Clubhouse in East Hampton

Pizza—love it. —Terrance Brennan, Chef and Owner of Brennan Group Hospitality in New York City

Bread, cheese and olives, because I’m Mediterranean and I grew up with them. —Spiro Karachopan, Owner and Executive Chef of Spiro’s Restaurant & Lounge in Rocky Point

Yellow lentils and roti bread…simple and delicious. —Sameer Mohan, Owner of Saaz in Southampton

Rice, fried egg, soy sauce. Not sure why, but it brings me joy. —Ash Fulk, Director of Culinary Operations at Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York City

Any sort of shellfish prepared with lots of spice. Spicy tartare, firecracker shrimp, mussels in fra diavolo sauce, spicy crab cake. —Jesus Ramirez, Executive Sous Chef of Hamptons Farms in East Quogue

Candy and pizza. They are delicious. —Matthew Abdoo, Executive Chef of Pig Beach in New York City

Meatloaf, because it reminds me of my mother. —Tom Schaudel, Chef and Owner of A Lure and aMano on the North Fork

I love cereal. After working hard in kitchen all day, I really want something simple. —Scott Kampf, Executive Chef of Southampton Social Club and Union Burger Bar in Southampton

Mac and cheese, because on a rainy day it’s the best ever! —Bruce Miller, Executive Chef of PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill in Greenport

Our All-American cheeseburger at Black Tap, medium rare. —Chris Barish, Owner of Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in New York City

Stews—their smell and taste bring me back to good memories right away. —Jose “Cheo” Avila, Head Chef at Kon-Tiki at the Gallery Hotel in Greenport

Big bowl of pasta. —James Tchinnis, Executive Chef and Owner of Swallow East Restaurant in Montauk

Ramen noodles, because it cures the hangover. —Fabián Gallardo, Chef and Owner of Petite Taqueria in Larchmont (PTL)

Chicken and dumplings, because it reminds me of my childhood. —Darryl Harmon, Executive Chef of Clinton Hall in New York City

Read More East End Chefs Roundtables Here.

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