Dan’s Taste 2021 Chefs Countdown: Jennilee Morris, Grace & Grit Events

Grace & Grit chef and co-owner Jennilee Morris
Grace & Grit chef and co-owner Jennilee Morris

Avid North Fork party-throwers (and -goers) have undoubtedly been amazed by Grace & Grit Events‘ boutique catering services at one party or another, and Dan’s Taste guests have also been treated to these flavorful dishes at several events over the years. This August, co-owner Chef Jennilee Morris will make an appearance at Dan’s GrillHampton to try and help Team Hamptons secure victory over Team NYC.

For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste 2021 events, visit DansTaste.com.

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

Lobster, watermelon, corn on the cob and sparkling wine.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m constantly inspired by how food (when cooked with love) has the ability to bring people and communities together.

You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?

I would invite my father, who passed away when I was younger, and I would cook him whatever he wanted. And I would cook it with my whole heart.

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

My favorite dish to prepare is making pasta from scratch and then going to a local farm stand to pick out the freshest produce to put in it. When cooking for myself, I love to start at a farm stand without a plan and let the ingredients lead the way. And yes, I enjoy eating it just as much as preparing it!

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

Always choose love over fear. Always.

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

I admire Cheryl Stair from Art of Eating, because she has stayed committed and driven to her craft for longer than anyone else I know, and she inspired me to start Grace & Grit Events 10 years ago.

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

I’m really excited to see how plant-based eating takes off and evolves over the next few years on the East End. Currently, I’m working on steering my coffee shops (North Fork Roasting Co.) menus in this direction, incorporating more vegan and vegetarian options.

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

I love being on a boat, tinkering on machines, fixing things, fishing and all things nature.

What’s your comfort food and why?

Coffee, pizza and more coffee.

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

That’s a tough one! Maybe I would be a carpenter.

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

My first proper cappuccino and a true Neapolitan pie in Italy.

What recent travels have you taken that have inspired you?

Recently, I went on a road trip to the Southwest where I had the most amazing corn and green chili tamales in Tucson, AZ. The food of the Southwest was just so vibrant and inspiring to me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being brave enough to learn and grow from my failures.

What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?

When I’m not at work, I am literally the slowest cook. Ha!

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

The great staffing shortage of 2021!

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Easy: “These Boots Were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra.

It’s your last weekend on earth—what’s the menu?

Boiled Maine lobster, fresh corn on the cob, local grilled vegetables and hand-cut French fries with a lemon caper aioli. Dessert: Strawberry shortcake.

We just handed you a glass of bubbly. Now please make a toast to summer on the East End.

Cheers to enjoying the beauty of the East End and all it has to offer! Oh, and be nice to the people that feed you.

Learn more about Grace & Grit Events, visit graceandgritevents.com.

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