Dan’s Taste 2021 Chefs Countdown: Terri Novak, flora

Chef Terri Novak Credit: Benny Migs
Chef Terri Novak
Benny Migs

Since opening a few short years ago, flora has proven to be one of the hottest eateries in Westhampton Beach, and that’s largely thanks to the delectable New American menu created by Chef Terri Novak. She’ll be crossing the canal to bring her delicious dishes to East Hampton at Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons on Thursday, June 24.

For tickets and info on all Dan’s Taste events, visit DansTaste.com.

First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer?”

Fresh, local, seasonal.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?

A simple fried chicken cutlet—thin, crisp and seasoned well—not only is it delicious, out of all the things I cook, it is the most requested.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To always remember that what you do affects the people around you.

Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?

Amy Bouchard, president and founder of Wicked Whoopies, is a constant reminder that life is what you make of it and when there is something you want to achieve, there is no limit on what you are capable of because you can do anything you put yourself into.

What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?

Besides flora? Sustainable food sources.

What are your hobbies, passions and interests outside the world of food, wine and work?

Spending time with my son, aerial yoga, Sundays with friends.

What’s your comfort food and why?

Pad Kee Mao aka drunken noodles.

If you were not in the food or wine business, what would you be doing?

Agriculture and growing. I would love to operate a food co-op where I would grow everything and raise animals to use for food sources (bees for honey, chickens for eggs, goats for cheese and so on) where people can enjoy local fresh products grown right in their own backyard.

What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever tasted?

King Crab wrapped in avocado over grilled Japanese eggplant with a saffron miso sauce. A good friend and amazing chef at Taiko 360, Danny Gao, made this for me one night after a long day of work, and it has been a dish that I cannot forget.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I feel blessed to be able to work in an environment that has helped me grow—not only molding me into the professional I am today but giving me the opportunity to do what I love each and every day.

What has surprised you the most about working in the East End culinary scene?

How large and small it feels at the same time. Our East End guests have been welcoming and supportive, we can’t thank them enough for embracing flora’s opening during the pandemic.

The flora restaurant is located at 149 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. Call 631-998-9600 or visit florawhb.com to learn more.

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