Saturday, August 22, 2015

Annual Harvest East End event toasts Food & Wine of Long Island plus native son, Chef Guy Reuge



Part Churchill Downs meets Hamptons-chic fashion, swirled with the elegance of a Bordeaux wine country party scaled to accommodate all the beautiful people and topped off with a New York effervescence, The Annual Harvest East End food and wine event is the place to be tonight.  


I should know.  It wasn’t that long ago, I was honored to have been invited as author of The Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook to participate in the annual food and wine event and there, among all the Island’s outstanding chefs, including almost a dozen featured in my Homegrown book.  And preparing a signature summer dish at a feverish pitch at our table, was Chef Meredith Machemer, formerly of Grey Horse Tavern.  It was a heady, sensual chance to dine at nearly than 40 of Long Island’s best restaurants -- under one tent.   Oh, the smells, the tastes, the excitement.  It’s a controlled food frenzy - both a homegrown cornucopia and a sophisticated smorgaasboard -- and a rare opportunity to experience such food delights all in one place.  


Tonight, Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen and judge of Chopped, will be the first-ever headliner host of the 6th Annual Premier Food & Wine Events –Harvest East End Wine Festival. Zakarian is also the author of My Perfect Pantry and owner/chef of The Lambs Club in Manhattan, is also Culinary Director for The Plaza Hotel and chef/partner of The National NYC This year the event is located at the picturesque McCall Wines Vineyards and Ranch, located at 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue, New York, on the North Fork.
As if the food, wine, and an Iron Chef weren’t enough - the real star of the evening will be Harvest East End’s recognition of one the best -- arguably the best chef ever from Long Island - by way of France. The event will honor three-time James Beard Award nominated chef Guy Reuge of Restaurant Mirabelle at Three Village Inn, for his contribution to the Long Island restaurant scene since the mid 80’s.
Naturally, Chef Guy is a featured chef in The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.  While exploring the backgrounds of the Long Island chefs for the book, I discovered a recurring thread: more than a clutch of the chefs cited their apprenticeship and connections with Chef Guy, inlcluding Chef Bryan Futerman, now at the East End’s celebrated restaurant, Nick And Toni's and Chef Eric Lomando, Kitchen A Bistro.  Chef Guy’s imprint and legacy on Long Island’s food culture casts an impressive legacy.  You can read his full profile in the Homegrown book;  it’s an enchanting story.  Here is an excerpt:


Whether it was a first date, an anniversary, a birthday, or “just” for the exquisitely sublime food, it’s probably safe to say that most everyone on Long Island has dined at Mirabelle restaurant.  It is the beloved fine-dining restaurant –- the temple of food guests frequent who want the best cuisine.  It is also the place where young hopeful cooks have gone to learn about culinary art from the best chef.
Guy Reuge is the classic French cook, brilliant in his métier, steadfast in his adherence to technique and tradition, who mentored and gave rise to the next generation of homegrown chefs.  Guy introduced Long Island residents to fresh, good food.  It can be said Reuge defined Long Island’s culinary landscape.
Long ago, Guy earned the respect of his customers and purveyors, picking up his share of accolades along the way, including the coveted Le Toque d’Argent culinary world 2006 Chef of the Year trophy.
Chef Guy’s journey to the pinnacle of culinary status on Long Island started in France.
Guy grew up in the Loire Valley, the traditional breadbasket of France. It was not long after World War II and near his Orleans home was the biggest US army base in Europe.
He fondly remembers an American family who moved from the base to their own house not far from where he lived.   He was utterly charmed and fascinated by the family’s lifestyle.  He was keen to observe the father who drove home in a BIG car; his wife wore pants and smoked! They had bbq in the yard where they roasted marshmallows and ate flat, sliced Wonder Bread! He was awed.
The whole tableau left an immeasurable and indelible impression.
He vowed to get to America and learn more about this place where all these curious and pleasant things came from…
...His family deemed he was to become a cook.  The three-year, hands-on cooking apprenticeships always began at around age 14.  Eventually, Guy earned the Certificate of Professional Aptitude and immediately went on to the Tour du Compagnon to work in top-tier restaurants in northern France and in Paris, achieving much success.  But he quickly adds that success then was not as it is today.  “There were no TV stars. Cooking was rather boring. It wasn’t so glamorous,” he notes.
Still looming in his mind’s eye was the drama of that exotic American family.   Soon, Guy was able to secure a cooking position in New York City.
His first job was with George Rey at a Swiss restaurant and later at New York’s apogee of epicurean dining establishments: Le Cygne and La Tulipe.  You’d think he had stock in Air France, as after about two years, Guy began what was to be the first chapter of several tenured stays in New York, followed by a return to France and then a boomerang back to America.
It was amour that brought him back to New York for good. He met Maria, his future wife then the editor at Gourmet magazine.  


...They opened Mirabelle in 1983 with Guy in the kitchen and Maria managing the front of the house.
“We continued to plant fruits, vegetables and to farm much of the arable land.  We were the first to have whole beds of mesclun,” he says proudly.  And the Mirabelle potager was the first restaurant kitchen garden open to the public.  Guy arranged it so his guests could relish the beneficent and ambient world of food that was part of the French Mirabelle dining experience.
It wasn’t long before chef Guy was a favorite son of Long Island, part of its food fabric network.  Here he could make personal, local contacts to better find good, fresh comestibles in addition to his own garden.
...Guy is privileged to have witnessed the development of Long Island’s wine country on the North Fork.  He explains he’s always supported the vineyards; their evangelical dedication to get better every year.  And on top of it all, the evolution to a food lifestyle venue not unlike his French roots. .  “The vineyards are part of our backyard,” he says.
Chef Guy is friendly with all the winemakers, selective in his choices, featuring various wineries and vintages that marry the local terroir of wine to the terroir of his homegrown menu. He cites Wölffer Estates Vineyard, in particular.
Today, in addition to growing his own vegetables and herbs, he gets a lot of his produce from Satur Farms.  “I love their frisée lettuce,” he shouts emphatically.   Guy also frequents Sang Lee Farms for their fresh, quality vegetables and greens and KK’s Biodynamic Farm in Cutchogue for her heirloom tomatoes and other summer treats. Can he taste terroir?  He thinks a moment. “When I taste a Jersey tomato or Long Island corn, I might have an idea…” Tasting the succulent, seasonal food—the lovely crunch of the corn, for example, he says he can enjoy making assumptions as to its provenance. “I just love food!” he exclaims.
Chef Guy has been in a charmed culinary position for nearly 30 years.  Yet talk to him about local farm ingredients, his garden, and food and he is that enthusiastic young man from the Loire Valley.   He remarks that change in Long Island and its devotion to food is nothing short of amazing. “People travel, they frequent NYC restaurants, they want to eat better.  And when they come back here, they want my way of cooking!” he says, with perhaps not a hint of irony.


We’re excited to honor three-time JBF Awards nominated chef, Guy Reuge of Restaurant Mirabelle at Three Village Inn for his strong support of Long Island wines since the mid 80’s, along with Jim Trezise, President of NY Wine & Grape Foundation, for all that he’s done for Long Island and the NY State wine industry in his 30 years at the helm of this Foundation,said LI Wine Council President Sal Diliberto.
In addition to Chef Guy, Harvest East End is also honoring Jim Trezise, President of New York Wine & Grape Foundation, a philanthropic trailblazer in the Long Island wine scene - now celebrating 30 years since its inaugration. Harvest East End is dedicated to raising money for local agricultural foundations, having raised more than $175,000 since the event’s inception in 2010. This year’s benefactors include Home | HRC and Peconic Land Trust - those beloved stewards of the irreplaceable land and waters of Long Island.


The Long Island wine industry was recently recognized by the distinguished Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, hailing the region for its “consistency, fresh approach and clear commitment to quality.” The reviewer, Mark Squires, noted Long Island wines having a “classic feel,” a “clear direction,” and a “focus on quality.” Since 2005, the Long Island wine region, which includes the North and South Forks, has grown from 500,000 visitors to 1.3 million visitors annually.
According to Harvest East End, more than 40 wineries and 35 restaurants & purveyors will convene under the tent where upwards of 1,500 people are expected to attend. Guests get a chance to sample barrel tastings of yet-to-be-bottled 2014 red wines and bid on silent auction items including large format bottles, special vintages and one-of-a-kind wine tasting experiences.


VIP hour kicks off at 6:30pm and includes access to special vintages, a VIP lounge, VIP gift bag and premier parking, with general admission running from 7:30pm – 10pm. Tickets are on sale at danstasteofsummer.com with VIP tickets available for $275 and General Admission tickets available for $125.  For more information and for tickets, please visit danstasteofsummer.com or call 631-227-0188. Or get over to McCall Vineyards and Ranch soon!


Check out this list of Participating restaurants:
  • A Lure **
  • A Mano Osteria & Wine Bar **
  • A Taste of the North Fork


  • American Beech


  • Bistro 72


  • Caci North Fork
  • Dark Horse Restaurant
  • Fifth Season Restaurant
  • First & South
  • FRESH Hamptons
  • Grana Trattoria Antica
  • Hush Bistro
  • Jamesport Manor Inn
  • Jedediah Hawkins Inn **
  • Jewel **
  • Lombardi’s Love Lane Market
  • Mirabelle **
  • Montauk Yacht Club
  • Noah’s
  • North Fork Chocolate Company
  • Palo Santo
  • Penntara Lao Food
  • PeraBell Food Bar
  • Petulant Wino **
  • Satur Farms **
  • SCGP Café
  • Schmitt’s Farmstand on Sound
  • Smitty’s All-American Grill
  • Suffolk Theater
  • The Blue Duck Bakery Café
  • The Frisky Oyster **
  • The Ram’s Head Inn
  • Tillie’s at Gurneys Montauk, by LDV
  • Hospitality
  • Touch of Venice
  • Whole Le Crepe
Participating wineries:
  • Anthony Nappa Wines
  • Baiting Hollow
  • Bedell Cellars **
  • Brooklyn Oenology
  • Channing Daughters Winery **
  • Clovis Point Vineyards
  • Coffee Pot Cellars
  • Croteaux
  • Diliberto Winery
  • Duck Walk Vineyards
  • Harbes Vineyard
  • Jamesport Vineyards
  • Jason’s Vineyard
  • Kontokosta Winery
  • Lieb Cellars **
  • Macari Vineyards and Winery
  • Martha Clara Vineyards
  • Mattebella Vineyards
  • McCall Vineyard and Ranch
  • Merliance Long Island Merlot Alliance
  • The Old Field Vineyards
  • Onabay Vineyards
  • One Woman Winery
  • Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards
  • Palmer Vineyards
  • Pellegrini Vineyards
  • Pindar Vineyards
  • Raphael
  • Roanoke Vineyards
  • Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard
  • Scarola Vineyards
  • Sherwood House Vineyards
  • Shinn Estate Vineyards **
  • Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery
  • Suhru Wines
  • T’Jara Vineyards
  • Waters Crest Winery
  • Wölffer Estate Vineyard **
About Harvest East End:  According to Dan's Papers:  “Dan's Harvest East End is an annual event started by the Long Island Wine Council with the goal of celebrating East End wine and food while also raising funds for local nonprofits. This gracious event supports regional wine marketing efforts and invests in the future of the region by giving to worthy charities that support and preserve our land and people now and for generations to come.”
Long Island Wine Council is an industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Long Island as a premium wine-producing region. Its role is to provide a coordinated effort for the promotion and development of the region’s wine industry. The Council was founded in 1989 and currently has 48 full members.


And you can follow up your Harvest East End event by ordering wines for home from The Hamptons Wine Club  
And if you didn’t make it to Harvest East End - live vicariously.  Why not go through the list of participating vineyards and order a few bottle from each winery?  What fun!

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