05/08/13 1:00pm
05/08/2013 1:00 PM
chef

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO |  Luke Gustafson, a Hampton Bays senior, prepares his prize-winning dish at Suffolk Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center.

The kitchen was heating up at Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center in Riverhead Tuesday afternoon, where four high school student chefs were competing for a $1,500 scholarship to the culinary program.

Hampton Bays High School senior Luke Gustafson, 18, cooked the prize-winning dish: sliced chicken breast in a tomato-mushroom sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed French green beans.

To make it to the competition, he and the other aspiring chefs had to compete against culinary students from their own high schools. The winner from each participating school then moved on to the SCCC competition.

Now in its fifth year, the contest was created to support student learning and encourage promising students. It’s also a way to show off the culinary talent Long Island has to offer.

Similar to the Food Network’s cooking competition show “Chopped,” the students were given a mystery basket full of ingredients — and 90 minutes to turn them into a delectable dish.

College instructors kept a watchful eye on the students from start to finish, judging them on cooking techniques, use of ingredients, cleanliness, presentation, taste and creativity. The secret ingredients: chicken, potatoes and fresh green beans.

“They are the most common. If they can take these items and make something good out of them, they’ve accomplished the task,” said Richard Freilich, director of SCCC’s culinary arts program. “We don’t want to make it too difficult; we really just want to see their skill level.”

Other competitors were Daniel Insoyna, 17, a Southold High School junior; Ruben Bernacet, 19, a senior at Bellport High School; and Charles Alifano, 17, a senior at Floral Park Memorial High School.

Each student was accompanied by a culinary teacher from his high school, who came along for support.

Luke and Daniel are both enrolled in the Eastern Suffolk BOCES culinary program in Riverhead, spending 2 1/2 hours per day, five days a week learning different aspects of cooking.

“We’ve used all of the ingredients before,” said BOCES culinary teacher Tom Hashagen, a resident of Shelter Island. “We do a lot of instruction with chicken because it’s the cheapest thing to use. I told the kids it’s what they would probably have.”

Mr. Hashagen described Daniel, who took second place in the competition, as a quick learner. “He’s one of those kids that, once he comes in, you know he’s going to be good,” he said.

“Luke is sort of intense,” Mr. Hashagen continued. “He finds out what he needs to do and attacks it fairly well. He also shows some good leadership qualities we are trying to work on and foster.”

cmiller@timesreview.com

05/05/13 11:45am
05/05/2013 11:45 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Chef Roy Wohlars of The Riverhead Project (left) and owner Dennis McDermott in the lounge area of the restaurant.

The Riverhead Project has a new executive chef and will debut its revamped, seafood-centric menu later this week.

Roy Wohlars, the former executive chef at Montauk’s South Edison, signed on as head chef of the downtown Riverhead restaurant just days ago, owner Dennis McDermott said.

Mr. Wohlars said the new menu, set to be unveiled Tuesday, is “75 percent seafood.”

“We’ll use the local waters of Long Island including oysters, clams, sea scallops and striped bass,” he said. “When the local farmers start producing vegetables those will also be on the menu.”

Chicken and duck make up the rest of the 2-year-old restaurant’s latest offerings. Menu items of note include a Szechuan-infused version of chicken and waffles and a smoked blue fish pierogi with house made crema, dill and pickled ramps.

Mr. McDermott, who formerly owned The Frisky Oyster in Greenport, is optimistic that Mr. Wohlars’ presence will further enhance revitalization efforts in downtown Riverhead.

“The Frisky Oyster definitely changed the landscape of dining in Greenport and the North Fork,” he said. “When the Riverhead Project came to Riverhead two years ago it did the same thing, and the addition of Roy to the restaurant really puts Riverhead on the map.”

ryoung@timesreview.com

04/14/13 7:45am
04/14/2013 7:45 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Earl and Gloria Fultz, who make cHarissa, a Moroccan-influenced food seasoning.

If you want to spice things up in the kitchen, but your busy schedule prevents you from taking the time to try new things, a North Fork couple has a suggestion for you.

Earl and Gloria Fultz, who live at Peconic Landing, want you to try “cHarissa,” a Moroccan-influenced food seasoning created by Ms. Fultz.

“Moroccan cooking is very complex,” Mr. Fultz said. “The great thing about this spice that Gloria created is it’s a quick way to bring Moroccan flavor to American food.”

The seasoning is a milder version of the Moroccan spice harissa, which uses the very hot jalapeño pepper commonly found in Moroccan cuisine. Instead, cHarissa uses cumin and cayenne pepper to pump up the heat.

Aside from the taste, the seasoning’s real back story is the love story that brought the little $12 jar of spice to life.

“The romantic story is, she did it for me,” Mr. Fultz, 89, said on a recent morning as he prepared a cup of coffee for his wife, who is 85. The two are approaching their 50th wedding anniversary. “Gloria came from Morocco and I came from Montana,” he said.

Ms. Fultz came to the United States during World War II. Her father brought her and her four siblings to America to escape religious persecution. The family endured a 26-day boat trip during hurricane season, Ms. Fultz recalled. Her mother had already made the trip.

She ended up in New York, where Mr. Fultz was attending Columbia University. He began working as a writer and Ms. Fultz’s aunt was his literary agent. That’s how the two first met.

Fifteen years later, with unsuccessful marriages behind them, the couple found one another again, Mr. Fultz said.

Food has always been a passion for the couple, who are both the children of mothers with superb cooking skills.

“Gloria’s mother certainly set the bar high for food,” said Mr. Fultz.

“And his mother, she was really an incredible baker,” his wife countered.

“Good cooks are competitive, and good cooks need a good eater,” Mr. Fultz said. Being the good eater was his job.

Moroccan cooking was a staple in the home Ms. Fultz grew up in, and she continued that tradition with her husband and children. She created the recipe for cHarissa over the course of their lives together and has been serving food with her seasoning for close to 25 years.

“Moroccan cooking, people like it but it’s complicated. It takes two or three hours,” she said. “The genius of this — this makes it instant.”

“The eureka moment was when we threw a party for all of Gloria’s relatives and we served it to everyone,” her husband said. “These people of Moroccan heritage — who feel away from it — they suddenly had a taste of the past. Her family told her to push the product.”

About a year ago, Mr. Fultz got to work and called Jeri Woodhouse, owner of A Taste of the North Fork, a local specialty food purveyor.

“He wanted to start a food business, and so I helped him,” Ms. Woodhouse said.

Since then Ms. Woodhouse has helped the couple with production and marketing for cHarissa. They’ve also been working with Rita Hagerman of Academy Printing in Southold on product labeling.

Mr. Fultz recently introduced cHarissa at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show in Manhattan. With the help of Ms. Woodhouse, the animated Mr. Fultz used his Montana country charm, complete with his cowboy hat, to drum up over 200 potential leads for distributing his wife’s product.

But local residents don’t have to wait for those leads to develop to try cHarissa out. It’s available at A Taste of the North Fork in Southold, The Market and Bruce’s Cafe in Greenport, The Fork & Anchor in East Marion, the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck and Braun’s Seafood in Cutchogue.

cmiller@timesreview.com

04/01/13 12:51pm
04/01/2013 12:51 PM

FILE PHOTO | The Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport is among a dozen North Fork restaurants that will participate in Hamptons Restaurant Week April 7-14.

Hamptons Restaurant Week returns Sunday, April 7, and 12 North Fork restaurants are participating.

The annual spring event, known for providing prix fixe menus offering some of the most sought after cuisines at a discounted rate, runs from April 7 to April 14.

Below is a list of participating restaurants in our towns and a link and phone number for reservations:

BAITING HOLLOW 

Cooperage Inn

(631) 727-8994

CUTCHOGUE

Touch of Venice Restaurant
(631) 298-5851

GREENPORT

Blue Canoe Oyster Bar & Grill
(631) 477-6888

Noah’s
(631) 477-6720

JAMESPORT

Jamesport Manor Inn
(631) 722-0500

Jedediah Hawkins
(631) 722-2900

NEW SUFFOLK

Legends Restaurant
(631) 734-5123

RIVERHEAD

All Star, The
(631) 998-3565

Bistro 72 at Hotel Indigo
(631) 369-3325

Tweeds Restaurant and Buffalo Bar
(631) 727-6644

SHELTER ISLAND HEIGHTS

La Maison Blanche
(631) 749-1633

SOUTHOLD

North Fork Table & Inn, The
(631) 765-0177

WADING RIVER

La Plage Restaurant
(631) 744-9200

Read more in Thursday’s paper.

02/24/13 12:00pm
02/24/2013 12:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Stephan Bogardus of North Fork Table & Inn will take his cooking game to the small screen next month on an episode of Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’

If you watch the popular Food Network contest show “Chopped,” you’ll have a local chef to root for in an episode airing next month.

Stephan Bogardus of Southold, chef de cuisine at The North Fork Table & Inn, will appear in an episode set to air at 10 p.m. March 12.

Mr. Bogardus, 25, learned his way around the kitchen working at several East End eateries. The chef, who speaks four languages, originally planned on attending law school, but was not accepted into any good schools, he said. On the advice of another chef, he attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 2009.

Not long after, he made his was back to the North Fork.

Mr. Bogardus said Gerry Hayden, executive chef of The North Fork Table & Inn, recommended him to “Chopped” producers.

The show pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. The challenge is to take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn them into dishes that are judged on creativity, presentation, and taste — with minimal time to plan and execute — a description of the show reads.

We sat down with Mr. Bogardus this week to discuss his career and his experience on the show:

Q. What would you say your specialty is?

A. What we have here at the North Fork Table & Inn, American cuisine and comfort food. Fresh local ingredients, they naturally display the pristine of the North Fork.

Q. Were you able to bring any North Fork flare to any of your dishes?

A. Absolutely. I like to feel being a native and a local out here, I brought a lot of personality and Long Island pride to the show for sure.

Q. One of the ingredients in the first round was beef tongue, had you ever worked with it before?

A. I make smoked beef tongue here at the restaurant. We purchased all the cows from Russell McCall at McCall Ranch this year, and so every two weeks we received a whole cow, that had the tongue in it. So I always did some kind of cure. I was quite aware of the ingredient.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

A. The timing is really, really hard. I had practiced a couple of times with twenty-minute increments and mystery baskets and things, it goes so much faster when you are in the studio.

It was hands down the most challenging 20 minutes of my life. Not only having to do what they ask you, to put together the best plate against these talented individuals, then there are cameras and lights and cords running across the floor you had to jump over. Something they did in the pantry, they put ingredients all over the place. It’s not all organized and together. There’s a lot of hunting and pecking that you have to do to assemble.

Q. Do you think your young age was an asset, or did it hinder your performance?

A. It was definitely a double-edged sword. It was great because I feel like a lot of the competitors underestimated me, but it was also challenging because my level of experience did not match most others. I would consider myself the least experienced of all the individuals.

Q. How did it feel to be selected as a contestant?

A. I knew I was being considered to be a contestant, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be selected. I’m just a 25-year-old from Southold, I never thought I’d be on TV.

It was a life-changing experience. It was truly an honor to be chosen as a competitor. There was really an acknowledgment toward years of hard work and experience, on a national level, which is pretty sweet.

cmiller@timesreview.com

02/18/13 4:00pm
02/18/2013 4:00 PM

SAMANTHA BRIX FILE PHOTO | Today is National Drink Wine Day.

Today is not only President’s Day, but National Drink Wine Day, a great reason to pick up a bottle of your favorite local wine to help celebrate the three-day weekend. The “holiday” is touted as a way “to spread the love and health benefits of wine.”

As you get cozy at your home or favorite local winery, take a minute to tell us:

What’s your favorite North Fork wine?

02/17/13 8:00am
02/17/2013 8:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Mike Engle, Byron Preston and Keenan Zach of The Mike Engle Vibratrio perform at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead Saturday afternoon.

Snow flurries fell as wine lovers and jazz musicians kicked off Winterfest’s Jazz on the Vine series Saturday afternoon. Originally scheduled to start Feb. 8, the series was postponed by last weekend’s blizzard.

Going on its sixth straight year, the Jazz on the Vine series is designed to bring visitors to the North Fork during the winter season. It will feature more than 80 concerts at local vineyards. Events are also scheduled at the newly renovated Suffolk Theater, Hotel Indigo and the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverhead.

“In the dead of winter, to see a full tasting room, it’s amazing,” said John Larsen, tasting room manager at Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue. “It makes the winter go by that much quicker.”

Related: Jazz on the Vine schedule

Pellegrini Vineyards featured a Spherical Flamenco Jazz Trio, with Emma Larsson also performing.

“It’s nice to be able to sit, listen, and enjoy a glass of wine,” said Katie O’Callaghan, who traveled from Manhattan with Steve Messemer to enjoy a Valentine’s Day weekend.

“This is great, the place especially,” Ms. O’Callaghan said. “The acoustics are great, and its not all traditional jazz. It’s nice they do a different style.”

“The fact that it’s actually snowing adds to the charm,” Mr. Messemer said. “This is something we will definitely make into a yearly thing.”

The couple had never been to a Jazz on the Vine event before.

Pellegrini Vineyards will be hosting three other events throughout the series, Mr. Larsen said.

The Mike Engle Vibratrio, a three-man band led by Mike Engle, performed at Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue Saturday. It was the band’s first time performing in the Jazz on the Vine series.

“We’re loving it,” said Keenan Zach, who plays bass. “It’s a great atmosphere. Exactly what the winter needs.”

“It’s inspiring to see so many people,” added Mike Engle, who described the trio’s music as “organic, spontaneous, but rooted in tradition.”

Mr. Engle said he would be honored to play in the series again.

“They are so nice and they sound great,” said Robin Helmer-Reich, who was cuddled up in a booth, sipping on red wine and listening close by. “Jazz on the Vine is a great program.”

This was the second year Ms. Helmer-Reich, of Center Moriches, has attended the series. “It’s a great thing to do in the dead of winter, when there aren’t too many choices of what to do.”

Blanche Pesc traveled from Rockville Center with her husband Dan and their dog to enjoy the afternoon.

“Every time we’ve come it’s been a great experience,” Ms. Pesc said. “You always end up meeting great people.”

Last year’s series brought more than 7,500 people to the North Fork, up from 6,000 in 2011. Events cost $20 at the door and include a glass of wine. You also get the chance to win a free night’s stay at an East End hotel with a gift basket of Long Island wines.

The events originally scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 8-10 have been postponed until March 22-24, extending the series another week.

Winterfest is produced by East End Arts, the Long Island Wine Council, the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Suffolk County Office of Economic Development. For more information visit www.liwinterfest.com.

cmiller@timesreview.com

01/20/13 10:05am
01/20/2013 10:05 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

The 2013 edition of the Winterfest Jazz on the Vine series kicks off February 8. Tickets to the concert events are $20.

Check out the complete schedule below:

A complete list of events for Long Island’s 2013 Jazz on the Vine Winterfest concert series