Tag Archive | "restaurants"

Long Island Chefs Band Together for ALS Research and Awareness

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By Tessa Raebeck

The small East End community gets even smaller when you enter the restaurant world, where world-class chefs started together as line cooks and waiters from one hit restaurant become owners of the next.

A strong testament to the intimacy of the local restaurant community is A Love Shared, a collaborative effort to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The efforts are led by the nonprofit Hayden’s Heroes, a group of renowned Long Island chefs, local farmers and community businesses that banded together after their friend and colleague Gerry Hayden was diagnosed with ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2011.

On October 13, Hayden’s Heroes held its first A Love Shared benefit, a family style dinner at 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue. Food was provided by a collaboration of 12  featured chefs. Hoping to raise $75,000 for ALS research and quality of life care for Hayden, the event surpassed all expectations, ultimately raising over $150,000.

“They just had such an outpouring of people that wanted to participate and wanted to get involved with the organization,” said Lindsey Meyers of WordHampton Public Relations in East Hampton, a firm that handled public relations for the event. “They thought it would be great after the first benefit to extend it and do something for the holidays.”

Following the benefit’s success, the 12 chefs featured at the dinner together formed the Long Island Culinary Collaborative. Along with The North Fork Table and Inn, where Hayden is the head chef, and A Love Shared, the group is selling A Love Shared gift boxes in Hayden’s honor during the holiday season.

Each wooden box is made by hand in Maine and contains twelve signature sauces, one from each chef. They cost $175, with all proceeds going toward efforts to raise awareness about ALS, to promote research for ALS and to raise money for quality of life care for Hayden and other ALS patients in need.

The included sauces vary from spicy to sweet, classic to innovative, with the signature local ingredients and personal touches of Long Island’s best chefs.

Head chef and owner of Amarelle in Wading River, Lia Fallon, created Mediterranean fig chutney for the gift boxes. There is a mignonette sauce by Terry Harwood, the chef and owner of the Vine Street Café on Shelter Island and a salsa verde by Sam McClendon of Sag Harbor’s The Beacon and Bell & Anchor. Michael Meehan, executive chef at H2O Seafood Grill in Smithtown, made a pickled corn relish for the boxes and Christian Mir of the Stone Creek Inn provided ginger vinaigrette. Often called the father of North Fork cuisine, restaurateur and chef John Ross created a wild beach plum sauce, collecting ingredients from local dunes.

Another staple of the North Fork restaurant scene, Keith Luce, made a duck wine sauce. Luce is the mind behind the MAIN project in Greenport’s Historic Stirling Square, which includes MAIN restaurant, Nosh, a bakery and espresso bar, and a takeout window, Prep. The White House honored Luce as an American Culinary Ambassador last summer.

Tom Schaudel, called one of Long Island’s best-known chefs by The New York Times, contributed a Thai red curry broth. Schaudel is the head chef and co-owner of A Lure in Southold and A Mano in Mattituck. Guy Reuge, who runs the Mirabelle Restaurant and neighboring Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook Village, created piccalilli, which is a relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices. A hot BBQ sauce is included in the gift boxes, made by Joe Realmuto, the head chef of Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton who also oversees the food at its sister restaurants, Amagansett’s La Fondita, Nick & Toni’s Café in the city and Townline BBQ in Sagaponack.

Rounding out the collection are sauces by Hayden and his wife, Claudia Fleming. Fleming, the pastry chef at the North Fork Table & Inn, created a passion fruit caramel and her husband, the restaurant’s executive chef, made a red pepper jimmy jam.

The collection is limited at 100 gift boxes, with each box containing all 12 signature sauces. To purchase a gift box visit aloveshared.com or call Jeri Woodhouse at (631) 834-1816.

Sprucing Up Hamlets with Outdoor Dining

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The photos pinned to the wall of the Southampton Town Board meeting room on Tuesday evening showed pleasing and inviting scenes of the Southampton Village streetscape. Each of the five pictures highlighted a different village restaurant’s bustling outdoor dining area, where patrons noshed on meals while basking in the sun as pedestrians walked by.

These photographs weren’t snapped by a professional photographer hired by the restaurants, but were in fact taken by town councilwoman Nancy Graboski who, along with councilman Christ Nuzzi, has spearheaded a campaign to allow outdoor dining throughout the town. Graboski presented the photos, which she took over Memorial Day Weekend, at a Southampton Town Board meeting to show the board the acclimating quality of outdoor seating.

Employing the help of deputy town attorney Kathleen Murray, Nuzzi and Graboski drafted legislation to allow outdoor sidewalk dining. The draft law was modeled after similar legislation found in Southampton Village.

“This is a law to create a license so that restaurants can put a few tables on the sidewalk,” explained Graboski. “It is consistent with the resort nature of our town. This will help keep our hamlets viable in this difficult economy. One major goal of the 1999 comprehensive plan was to be sensitive to the viability of our hamlet centers and this will help us do that.”

According to Graboski, the new law will apply to the Southampton Town hamlet’s of Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays, Water Mill and East Quogue and will help promote economic sustainability for food establishments. Graboski said a local restaurateur told her that having seating areas situated outside his restaurant in the winter months increased his business by 10 percent.

The outdoor dining legislation comes with a few standards, which Murray enumerated at the meeting. Firstly, the law only applies to restaurants with a primary enclosed business, and excludes take-out operations, drive-thrus and drive-ins, bars and nightclubs. The outdoor seating must be located in front of the restaurant’s indoor operation. There must be at least 10 feet of space between the restaurant’s exterior wall and the curb of the sidewalk. The restaurant will leave six feet clear to accommodate pedestrian traffic and safety. For example, if there is 12 feet of space between a restaurant and the sidewalk curb, the dining establishment may use six feet of sidewalk width for outdoor dining. Restaurants are allowed to install retractable awnings over the outdoor seating, but umbrellas are expressly forbidden.

To maintain the same occupancy limits for the restaurant, the town stipulates that indoor seating must be reduced to correspond with the additional outdoor seating, and the outdoor seating may not exceed 20 percent of the total indoor seating capacity. Licenses issued to restaurants by the town would only be valid for the season — May 1 through November 1, and allow dining from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“This is a good business initiative,” said Nuzzi of the legislation, which was unanimously passed by the town board. “It will assist the business community and hopefully expanding dining opportunities will additionally flow out into the retail establishments.