Meet Chef Gray Gardell-Gross of Montauk’s 668 The Gig Shack

668 The Gig Shack chef Gray Gardell-Gross
668 The Gig Shack chef Gray Gardell-Gross
Courtesy WordHampton

The youngest member of the family that runs Montauk’s popular 668 The Gig Shack, Gray Gardell-Gross is the best chef of the bunch and wows restaurant patrons with his flavorful takes on fish tacos, burgers, lobster rolls and more.

Luckily for Dan’s Taste of Two Forks guests, he’s joined the roster of talented East End chefs who will create a dining experience the likes of which the Twin Forks hasn’t seen before! The can’t-miss outdoor culinary extravaganza takes place Saturday, August 21, so grab your tickets while you still can!

Tickets to Dan’s Taste of Two Forks are available at squadup.com/events/dans-taste-of-two-forks-session-1. For 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?”

Light and fresh food—the stuff that won’t make you want to pass out by 5 p.m.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I have very weird dreams; most of my menu comes in and wakes me up in the middle of the night.

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

Coq au vin—I love to eat it as well. It’s a fun dish to start prepping and the ability to just walk away for two hours after is a plus. On the other  hand, during fall trips to Woodstock nothing beats making lamb stew, but we’ve got a few months for that.

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

Honestly I have no idea; I tend to keep my head up and just roll with the highs and lows.

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

Probably my buddy Ronald Marcotrigiano over at Montauk Circle Restaurant. Best friends forever, lots of ups and downs, but he’s a powerhouse of energy and always taking on new adventures. No matter where he runs the kitchen, I’ll know the food just might be better than mine.

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

Moped drives around town with the lady and sleeping outside with the stars and a fire.

What’s your comfort food and why?

It’s gotta be chicken Parmigiana. Besides the fact that it’s delicious, Peyton Manning’s “Chicken parm, you taste so good!” commercial hums through my head all day.

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

Anything with my hands—I just love building things, I love fixing things, I love understanding things. That being said, I would need more experience because I’m 50/50 on how my jobs turn out.

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

Most notably, the pork shank, but also everything else on the menu in some random town outside of Monforte d’Alba, Italy. Wish I could tell you where it was.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Locking down the girl of my dreams after 10 years of trying. Friends kept telling me to move on but the heart desires what the heart desires!

What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?

Ever since I watched the movie Ratatouille, the lady chef mentioned keeping your arms tucked while working. It’s been now 14 years that I have not cut or burned myself since understanding that trick. All chefs should learn it.

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

Seems like every restaurant in Montauk is struggling with the staffing to keep their operations running. This year it’s been very shocking how many businesses have become comfortable being closed for a day during the short eight-week season. I think it shows understanding from the owners to respect the little bit of staff they have left

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

To all my hardworking friends in the back of house. Whether one year you all get COVID-19 or this year dealing with getting hit by cars and broken bones, you all still have my back one year after the next. Sadly none of you like champagne, so I find myself drinking alone!

668 The Gig Shack is located 782 Main Street, Montauk. To learn more, visit 668thegigshack.com or call 631-668-2727.

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