North Fork chefs teaming up to help one of their own

09/22/2013 8:00 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | North Fork Table & Inn owners Gerry Hayden and his wife, Claudia Fleming-Hayden, inside the Southold restaurant in a 2011 photo.

Local chefs and artisans will band together to help raise money for Gerry Hayden, the longtime executive chef and co-owner of Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn, who was diagnosed in 2011 with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“A Love Shared,” scheduled for Oct. 13 at 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, will include a wine and amuse-bouche tasting followed by an intimate, family-style dinner prepared by noted North Fork chefs, including Lia Fallon of The Riverhead Project and Keith Luce, of Greenport’s The Square. Local shops and artisans — including Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic and Southold’s A Taste of the North Fork — will provide hors d’oeuvres.

Event organizers hope to raise $75,000 to help provide quality-of-life care for Mr. Hayden, who is 48, and also to support ALS research.

“The event was sparked by an outpouring from the community around me, to help me with my quest to eradicate ALS permanently,” Mr. Hayden wrote in an e-mail. “It was my idea to start a farmers market at the restaurant and have only the farmers we use at the restaurant to share and promote the farm-to-table philosophy.”

Maria McBride, an event planner with Peconic Productions who is helping coordinate “A Love Shared,” said she began talking with Mr. Hayden earlier this year about putting together an event. “If Gerry can get up each day and face his health challenges with humor and grit, then we knew we could certainly create a memorable party to raise money to support Gerry’s fight with ALS,” she said.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness that results in paralysis, according to the Stony Brook University School of Medicine website.

As the phrenic nerve to the diaphragm muscles fails, patients lose the ability to breathe without ventilator support.

Mr. Hayden, who has lost the use of his hands to the disease, said he plans to publish a memoir about how cooking and food have molded him. The book will also include recipes.

In the meantime, Mr. Hayden said, there are three things he’d like to raise awareness for, three things close to his heart: funding for ALS research, the North Fork’s artisan farming community and the tight-knit, talented community of Long Island chefs he belongs to.

“‘A Love Shared’ is my mantra now,” he said. “The phrase itself is how I would liked to be remembered.”

Tickets for “A Love Shared” cost $250 each; only 200 are available.

To purchase tickets or make a donation, visit aloveshared.com or leave a message with Peconic Productions at 631-862-5414.

ryoung@timesreview.com

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