As Saturday, July 14 finally draws near, the excitement for this year’s Dan’s Taste of Two Forks continues to build. With a variety of chefs, restaurants, sponsors, and wineries involved (40 restaurants and 20 wineries in all), it will be one of the defining events of this year’s Hamptons season!
Coincidentally, the gathering falls on the French national holiday Bastille Day. This seems particularly fitting considering the host of the event happens to be internationally acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a native of Alsace. The Frenchman learned how to cook at the Auberge de I’ill, becoming an apprentice to chef Paul Haeberlin. From there, he moved to the south of France to work with master-chef Louis Outhier at L’Oasis. Vongerichten later honed his skills and precision in Asia, working at places like the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, the Meridian Hotel in Singapore and the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. During his time in the East he expanded his style by using vegetable juices, splashes of fruit, light broths and herbal vinaigrettes to create vibrant flavors and different textures. Bringing his lifelong love and passion of food to TOTF, he will surely make this year’s event the best thus far.
In addition to being a passionate chef, Vongerichten is also a savvy businessman. He has written four cookbooks with his unique recipes and cooking style. He also owns dozens of restaurants world-wide. In the United States alone he owns and operates famed establishments such as Jean-Georges, The Mark Restaurant, Spice Market, Mercer Kitchen, Perry St., and JoJo. “I am honored to host the 2nd annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks,” says Jean-Georges. “It is always a pleasure to be amongst a group of gifted chefs and fine restaurants.”
Accompanying Vongerichten as host is Nicole Miller, who will act as “ambassador of taste” during the evenings’ festivities. Although Miller’s talents are not strictly culinary, she certainly has an eye for amazing quality. She studied painting and sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design and was later trained in Paris, France, where she learned how to drape and manipulate fabric. Miller is inspired by cinema, contemporary art, mid-20th century architecture and exotic cultures. Found in many of her collections are bright colors and a variety of whimsical, contemporary patterns. After opening her first boutique on Madison Ave. she expanded to over 20 locations in the United States and began selling her collections in department stores nationwide. Recently Miller was named The Daily Dan’s Food Critic for summer 2012. “There are some amazing restaurants on the East End—with access to fresh produce and seafood, the quality is always excellent,” Nicole explains. “It’s wonderful to celebrate the talented and diverse chefs and vineyards on the East End at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks.”
During the evening, chef Gerry Hayden will be awarded the Two Forks Outstanding Achievement Award. Hayden owns and operates the North Fork Table & Inn with his wife, Claudia Flemming. Hayden will be honored for his dedication to the local community and for his commitment to using local produce and ingredients. For the last two years especially, Hayden has been extremely passionate about eating and sourcing locally, for which he has gained much recognition.
For the second year in a row, Have a Heart Community Trust has teamed up with Taste of Two Forks as its charity partner. With Southampton serving as its home base, the organization supports and provides emergency relief to residents of the East End. Have a Heart caters to individual or family based needs. From Riverhead to Montauk, the organization works with dozens of not-for-profit charities to offer financial support for families or individuals in times of crisis.
This year, the Farrell Building Company will be the presenting sponsor. The company will also build an outside kitchen for the chefs to use. The Farrell Building Company is known for being the luxury homebuilder of the Hamptons. The premier sponsors include Lincoln, TOWN Residential, Citerella, Hampton Jitney, Southampton Publick House, Dutch Petals, Designs by DiMichaels, and The Long Island Wine Council.