East End Chefs Roundtable: What’s Your Dream Dinner Party Guest List?

Colin Ambrose, Bruce Miller, Jose "Cheo" Avila, Photos: Barbara Lassen
Colin Ambrose, Bruce Miller, Jose “Cheo” Avila, Photos: Barbara Lassen

In this time of social distancing, we all wish we could share a meal with the people who matter most to us—our family and friends—but it’s also a fun distraction to imagine who else we might invite to our grand all-this-craziness-is-finally-over feast. It could be anyone from our favorite celebrities to our biggest role models; heck, in this fantasy we could even invite historical figures who lived hundreds of years ago. The sky’s the limit! Just don’t forget to consider what that incredible meal would look like. Would your guests be served lobster, caviar, filet mignon, whatever wealthy vegans eat or something more sentimental? As our East End chefs are our dining and hospitality experts, we posed the question to them.

You can invite three people from the past or present to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?

Grandma Jesse, Arnold Palmer and my wife, Clare. Well, Grandma Jesse is cooking. It would be Sunday gravy with homemade pasta and fried bread with powdered sugar for dessert, and then a perfectly cored and peeled yellow apple to seal the deal. —Peter Ambrose, Chef, Caterer and Owner of Events by Peter Ambrose

My father, Anthony Bourdain, Marie-Noëlle Ledru. —Hernan Martinez, General Manager of The Garden at Water Mill

Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and my mother. Pesce spada alla ghiotta.Marco Barrila, Executive Chef and Owner of Insatiable Eats Catering and Events

My father, mother and brother. My family, and family dinners, are the inspiration for my love of cooking. For this dinner party, my brother would make cocktails. My dad would make his famous Caesar salad. I’d do a sweet corn soup with crab, and then we’d have my dad’s meatloaf with grilled asparagus, along with my mom’s Dakota bread. I’d make tiramisu for dessert. Or perhaps even seven-layer mocha cake… —Brian Wilson, Executive Chef of North Fork Table & Inn in Southold

Auguste Escoffier, JFK and my son, Chad. —Ronald Philipp, Executive Chef of The Maidstone in East Hampton

My wife, son and daughter. Chilean sea bass, sunchoke purée, sautéed chanterelles and summer squash with coconut curry sauce. —Cleon Clarke, Chef de Cuisine of Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor

Jerry Garcia, Jake Phelps and George Washington. —Steve Zoerner, Chef and Owner of Swell Taco in Patchogue

I would invite a young, aspiring chef, farmer and sea farmer and ask them each to bring me an ingredient. I would start a fire and teach them that the earth has given us everything we need. How shall we thank it? —Jennilee Morris, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Grace & Grit and North Fork Roasting Co. in Southold

Oprah Winfrey, Carson Wentz, Kim Kardashian. My mom’s original chicken and dumpling recipe that I’ve modified quite a bit throughout the years! —Darryl Harmon, Executive Chef of Clinton Hall in New York City

The Dalai Lama, Ferran Adria and Picasso. We would eat fresh seafood cooked whole on the bone and raw shellfish. Of course, there would be stellar vegetables. —Stephan Bogardus, Executive Chef of The Halyard at Sound View Greenport

My mom, Picasso and Obama. The meal would be simple fare—grilled fish, roasted veggie and good wine. —Paul Del Favero, Chef and Owner of Harbor Market & Kitchen in Sag Harbor

I would invite my fiancé Mark Barylski, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert and the meal would be beef bourguignon. —Courtney Sypher, Executive Chef of Sen Restaurant in Sag Harbor

Anthony Bourdain. Cool dude and will make some kick-ass food! Bob Marley, who will make sure the music is correct and vibe is on point. My girlfriend, Maya, to enjoy it with me. —Derek Axelrod, Partner of T Bar Southampton

It would have to be four people, both pairs of my grandparents and it doesn’t matter what we ate. —Matthew Birnstill, Executive Chef of The Quogue Club

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

Anthony Bourdain, Lenny Bruce, Michelle Obama. —Ash Fulk, Director of Culinary Operations at Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York City

Ernest Hemingway, Jim Harrison and Doug Peacock. The meal would be prepared over a fire, riverside, somewhere in Montana or Idaho. The conversation would start focused on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which we all have in common. The menu would include lots of wild things, and of course several bottles of Bordeaux—since this is a dinner with two dead men, I’ll drink too. — Colin Ambrose, Chef and Owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor

Ferran Adrià, Fernand Point and Georges Auguste Escoffier. The menu would be entirely in the hands of these culinary masters! —Steven Amaral, Chocolatier and Executive Chef of North Fork Chocolate Company in Aquebogue

Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Ram Dass. —Justin Bazdarich, Chef and Owner of Speedy Romeo in New York City

Definitely my three grandparents who have passed. They had such an influence on who I am and what I’ve become. Food, to me, is about family and hospitality. —Dominic Rice, Executive Chef of Calissa in Water Mill

Winston Churchill, Anthony Bourdain and Elvis Presley. Each of them shook up their individual professional establishments and shaped the world. The meal would either be a long, 27-course dinner, or Chinese food at some hole in the wall. Either way, it would be an incredible experience! —Peter Van Der Mije, Chef and Owner of Osteria Leana in Oyster Bay

Martha Stewart, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga. —Nikki Cascone-Grossman, Owner of Cheese Shoppe in Southampton

My wife, Peggy, and our daughters. The meal would be local lobster tails, corn, roasted fingerling potatoes and strained peas. —Brian Schlitt, Executive Chef of The Clubhouse in East Hampton

Richard Brautigan, my mother, Elvis. Shrimp and grits. —Adam Kaufer, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Grace & Grit

Definitely my mother and father. And the meal would be their favorite, lamb shank. I’d try to make it as good as my mom used to make when I was little. —Spiro Karachopan, Owner and Executive Chef of Spiro’s Restaurant & Lounge in Rocky Point

Dad, wife, brother…whatever the family is cooking. —Sameer Mohan, Owner of Saaz in Southampton

My wife, Meghan, my in-laws and my brother-in-law Jeff Michner, who passed away, so they could all share one last meal with their son and brother. It would be a Mexican feast! —Matthew Abdoo, Executive Chef of Pig Beach in New York City

My parents and best friend, since I am all about family and friends. Paella would be the dish of choice since it’s one dish that includes such an amazing complement of ingredients to one another. —Jesus Ramirez, Executive Sous Chef of Hamptons Farms in East Quogue

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. —Tom Schaudel, Chef and Owner of A Lure and aMano on the North Fork

My Uncle Billy, my mother and my sister. We would eat fried clams and tartar sauce, corn, ravioli, lobster and beef. —Drew Hiatt, Executive Chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton

Anthony Bourdain, my wife, Darra Goldstein and Julia Child. Anthony Bourdain because of his vast life, the vast traveling, the endless knowledge—I would love to learn what he saw, through his eyes. It’s a shame that he ended up having a lot of demons. We all have demons, but it’s just whether or not you keep them at bay. My wife, of course, because I love her. Every day of my life with her is always good. Julia Child was a big influence on me learning how to cook. I couldn’t afford to take people out to dinner, so I felt being a Renaissance man and learning how to cook was the way to go. And she was on TV at that time in my life, and I learned five solid dishes, and that’s where it started. The meal would be a simple grilled vegetables, great steaks and chicken. It wouldn’t be all about the meal, it would be about the people and conversations. —Scott Kampf, Executive Chef of Southampton Social Club and Union Burger Bar in Southampton

I would invite my father, Anthony Bourdain and Jim Morrison, all of whom are deceased. I would make a really simple rib eye roast with a whole lobster for each, grilled street corn and potato salad, all family style. All these items remind me of summertime BBQ. —Bruce Miller, Executive Chef of PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill in Greenport

Winston Churchill, Johnny Carson and Lorne Michaels. We’d probably have a simple steakhouse dinner—rib eye, creamed spinach, etc. —Adam Lathan, Co-Founder and Executive Chef of The Gumbo Bros in New York City

Jose Andres, Steve Jobs and Thomas Jefferson are visionary people who created unique contributions to better society in ways no one could have imagined. For the meal, probably, some grilled seafood—grilled veggies included for Steve—and good Scotch in a beach shack in Venezuela. — Jose “Cheo” Avila, Head Chef at Kon-Tiki at the Gallery Hotel in Greenport

My Wife. My Wife. My Wife. —Jeremy Blutstein, Executive Chef of Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina in Montauk

Winston Churchill, Auguste Escoffier, Ben Franklin those cats knew how to eat and drink. Oysters, BBQ and sushi, Champagne and pappy van winkle. —Matty Boudreau, Executive Chef 0f Green Hill Kitchen & Que in Greenport

Julia Child, Barack Obama, Tom Petty. —James Tchinnis, Executive Chef and Owner of Swallow East Restaurant in Montauk

Patrick Clack. —Joseph Labita, Executive Chef of Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beers in New York City

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