‘Tis the season of warming hearths and hearts, and nobody does that better than the chefs of the East End. As we enter a time where they will need us to share our support more than ever, these culinary creators step back from the stove, put down the knife, to share their favorite local seasonal ingredients—and some ideas for using them in your own kitchen!—the foods that bring them comfort and more.
“Lots of local farmers are growing local ginger, which pairs well with local honeynut squash, pears and goes wonderfully in cobblers, crisps, pumpkin pies and sweet potatoes.”—Chef Cheryl Stair, Art of Eating
Comfort Food Fix: “A biscuit, of course! But mine has melted butter and some of my strawberry-rhubarb jam. Fresh, hot, pretty darn perfect.”—Marissa Drago, Main Road Biscuit Co.
“The wonderful people at Green Thumb harvest delicious sunchokes this time of the year. Misunderstood, underutilized and so, so versatile. They are a go-to thing for us restaurant types, but they are due for a greater appreciation from the civilian population.”—Jason Weiner, Almond Restaurant
Comfort Food Fix: “Obviously, I’m a barbecue guy, so smoked brisket is the ultimate comfort food. It’s fork tender, it lets you appreciate the flavor of a good piece of meat that’s been cooking for 24 hours. That’s the great thing about smoking—it’s not braised, or seared and sliced, it yields a really distinct flavor and texture.”—Matty Boudreau, Green Hill Kitchen & ’Que
“My favorite fall ingredients, carrots and parsnips, whipped together with just a touch of butter and salt and pepper, simple but delicious—you can eat it by the spoonful. Another favorite is end-of-the-summer corn made into Cajun corn, subtly spicy, creamy and delicious. Lastly, roasted mushrooms with poached eggs and maybe a touch of béarnaise.”—Erin B. Finley, Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine
Comfort Food Fix: “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, The Clubhouse
“This is a great time of year to make pumpkin soup from the leftover pumpkins you picked with your kids at the local farm stands—and of course, pick up a bottle of Long Island wine to go with your holiday meal.”—Chef Paul Zoufaly, Michelangelo of Riverhead
Comfort Food Fix: “Yellow lentils and roti bread…simple and delicious.”—Sameer Mohan, Saaz
“I love cereal. After working hard in kitchen all day, I really want something simple.”—Scott Kampf, Union Burger Bar, Union Steak & Sushi, Southampton Social Club
Comfort Food Fix: “Cornmeal crusted chicken pot pie.”—Colin Ambrose, Estia’s Little Kitchen
“You have to temper your ‘seasonal and local’ itch here on Long Island with some other choices or you’ll wind up having 12 dishes with cauliflower on them.”—Tom Schaudel, A Lure, a Mano
Comfort Food Fix: “My favorite comfort food is a nice, homemade Italian dinner. It makes me think of my childhood.”—Arthur Wolf, Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More
“Right now, Balsam Farm’s Yukon potatoes, cheese squash and Swiss chard are great local staples.”—Chef Philippe Corbet, Lulu Kitchen
Comfort Food Fix: “Adobo, because of my wife.”—Drew Hiatt, The Preston House & Hotel
“For me, the excitement in cooking is the versatility of letting the season dictate my meals. On a day-to-day basis, choosing the ingredients that are the most fresh out of the ground or sea is how I like to cook. Discovering new vegetables, leaf lettuces or herbs and creating new flavors that I didn’t know existed. I expect to be chasing that favorite dish for a lifetime and that excites me.” —Jennilee Morris, Grace & Grit