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Local Flavor

BY Phebe Wahl | May 30, 2017 | Feature Features National

The Hamptons are infused with an explosion of epicurean talent. Here, we dig in with the top tastemakers and gourmet gurus leading the culinary charge out East—and get a taste for what they'll be relishing this summer.

“When I’m out there, I tend to keep things really simple,” offers Top Chef judge, author and Hamptons regular Padma Lakshmi. “I do venture to many of the small farm stands because we cook at home about 98 percent of the time,” she says. “It’s a chance to have a slower-paced, idyllic life.” Hot on the heels of publishing both her memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate, and The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs last year, she’ll spotlight the Colorado culinary scenes of Denver, Boulder and Telluride in season 15 of Top Chef. When not filming, Lakshmi enjoys the gourmet riches of the East End. “I first fell in love with Tate’s Bake Shop in the Hamptons,” she reveals. “I used to have to drive around the original shop, instead of passing by it, for fear I would stop in and eat my body weight in their chocolate chip cookies.” While the brunette beauty counts classics like Sant Ambroeus among her summer standbys, she really relishes cooking at home when out East. Sounds like a winning recipe to us.

Photo by Gregg Delman | Styling by Adam Ballheim | Hair by Jeanie Syfu | Makeup by Brigitte Philippides | Crochet bathing suit by She Made Me

“My food passion happened kind of by accident and along a long, winding road,” says Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, whose Impatient Foodie cookbook debuts early this summer. “As I explain in the book, the journey included 12 years of modeling and cooking for myself to fit into sample sizes; a summer stocking a fridge at an elephant reserve camp in the Samburu desert in northern Kenya; and then a two-year master’s degree program at the London School of Economics,” says the statuesque stunner, who spent her childhood on the beach in Bellport, the home of mother Isabella Rossellini. “I really love the slower pace and how something like taking your bike out for a ride to get an ice cream can be a whole afternoon activity somehow,” says Wiedemann of her time out East. “This summer, I will be drinking rosé at the beach with friends and eating fresh vegetables at my mother’s farm in Brookhaven.”

Photo by Davide Luciano

“Nothing is better than Friday nights at the Wine Stand—all our friends come, and we get to hang out with our families and kick off the weekend together,” says Joey Wölffer of Wölffer Estate Vineyard and The Styleliner—a handbag collection, sold at Anthropologie and select Four Seasons hotels, that will debut an expanded storefront in Sag Harbor this summer. “One of our favorite things to do as a family is take a picnic dinner to the beach,” says the local environmental advocate, who will receive the Ceres Award at the Group for the East End’s benefit on June 17. “It’s a relaxing time for us to all be together.”

Photo by Belathée Photography

“My passion for shellfish aquaculture was sparked by a very deep connection to the water,” explains Mike Martinsen, co-owner of Montauk Shellfish Company Inc. “Montauk is pristinely beautiful any way you look at it.” From childhood, Martinsen has earned a living harvesting wild clams, oysters, lobster and fish. Living in Montauk village with his family, he is dedicated to preserving the wild beauty and ecosystems of the Hamptons. “I was a guy [who] earned a living killing fish, and taking from the bay and ocean to feed the people,” he says. “Now, though I do still pot fish and lobster on the weekends, my [energy is spent] giving back to the bays.” Martinsen’s efforts are to rebuild wild stocks of oysters, which act as a natural water filtration system to help keep algal blooms in check. “One oyster will filter 50 gallons of water per day, which means that on a daily basis our farm is filtering 75 million gallons each day,” he says.

Photo by Mikey Detemple

Top toque Laurent Tourondel (of LT Burger in Sag Harbor) is on fire this summer: He’s opening a new trattoria, Poeti, at The Betsy hotel in Miami at the end of the season. When he is not busy building his culinary empire, Tourondel camps out at his compound in Springs in East Hampton. “It’s a bit rural, a bit woodsy; it has a quiet bay and harbor beaches, and a bunch of marinas,” he says. “It’s well known that Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning were inspired by their experiences in Springs.” Tourondel also enjoys spending time in Montauk. “I check out the farmers markets—there’s always such great variety of proteins, produce... everything, really—and I do some fishing and paddleboarding,” he says. “I’ve also been known to play a little pétanque in my day. I am French, after all.”

Photo by Doug Young

“Michael and I saw clearly that Juice Press had the ability to go above and beyond as a juice company and transform into a wellness platform,” says Southampton-based Erica Karsch of her and her husband’s vision to grow the company, founded by Thai boxer Marcus Antebi, from four stores to 66 in a mere five years since they became involved. “By the end of this year, that number will be above 80,” says Erica, who now counts three stores in Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Southampton. “We’re gearing up to expand our food offerings, and launch vegan ice cream and large take-home salad dressings, both of which can become Hampton staples,” she says. “Eating clean makes me feel different—it affects my energy, both mental and physical.”

Photo by Eric Striffler

“It sort of founded itself,” explains Sweet’tauk Lemonade founder and Montauk local Deborah Aiza of her low-sugar formula that went straight from the Montauk Farmers Market to Whole Foods. This summer, Aiza is no longer using any sugar in her lemonades. “I love that I am making a healthier update to an American classic,” she says. “Our tart lemonades are now lightly sweetened with organically grown stevia, and contain between 1 and 5 grams of naturally occurring sugar from fresh-squeezed juice and fruit.” Aiza smiles. “It’s like art you can eat. You make something beautiful, fresh and healthy.”

Photo by Mikey Detemple

“The best part of spending summer in the Hamptons is staying in with friends, cooking huge meals and just relaxing,” says celebrated chef and author Geoffrey Zakarian. This summer, Zakarian celebrates his newly launched development and production company, Corner Table Entertainment; his Hollywood, Fla., hot spots opened earlier this year at The Diplomat Beach Resort. “Food goes through similar style trends and redefinitions to fashion,” says the chairman of the City Harvest Food Council. “You need to know that landscape to understand how to achieve something timeless.” During his rare respites, Zakarian frequents hidden Hamptons haunts like Clam Bar and Lunch in Montauk. “There’s something intriguing about a highway, a dirt road and restaurant,” he says. “Also, Bostwick’s Chowder House serves up a superb chowder.”

Photo by Patrick Michael Chin

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