We’re pretty psyched for Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Hosted by celebrity chef and restaurateur Marc Murphy, judge on Food Network’s Chopped and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants [Landmarc + Ditch Plains], Kingside, and Grey Salt. This event is brand spanking new, so we can’t wait to throw down at a beach chic soirée that’s as fabulous as it is tasty. We chatted up Murphy, and he talked with us about his love of seafood, aversion from oysters that suffer from jet lag (yes, it's a thing), and what’s in his picnic basket.
Since this event highlights seafood, what does coastal cuisine mean to you?
Well, I mean, it's food that’s fresh, really fresh. As a rule, I try to eat as local as possible, and I just love so many kinds of seafood. I'm a big fan of fluke season, and I also enjoy oysters, especially local oysters. But one thing I've never understood is why oysters get jet lag. Oysters should never be jet lagged.
That's a funny way of putting it, kind of like when you go to a restaurant on the East End and see West Coast oysters on the menu-
Right. I have nothing against trying oysters from different areas of the country, because I think it's interesting. But, oysters always taste better when they are locally sourced.
Fair enough. And, what’s your favorite ingredient to work with during the summer?
That's easy- it's the tomato. There's nothing better than a local summer tomato with a little olive oil. It's perfect. Of course, you can cook with it year round, but it really shines during the summertime. I also like corn salad, especially with a little chorizo.
For a day at the beach, what are you packing up in your picnic basket?
Well, I always love a good cheese plate. But for a summer picnic, I think a lobster roll with all the fixings would be great. And, it's important to have a good cooler to keep everything cold. And, maybe throw in a watermelon. That's always a crowd pleaser.
I know you're busy with your own restaurants, but we're curious if you get out to the Hamptons much during the summer?
Yes I do, I really love it out here. The weather and the light are beautiful, and it's great eating outside and being with family and friends. I even like surfing.
Oh wow, you surf?
[Laughing] I try, but this pesky thing called a job gets in the way.
So what's your favorite town out here?
I usually hang out at my house with my family. There’s not always a reason to leave, because we have a pool, a bocce ball court, and a grill. It's easy to just go hop in the ocean, so I usually like staying at home. But when we do go out, I like Sag Harbor.
Sag has a really great restaurant scene-
That's true, but I enjoy the down-home Americana feel of the area. It's really unique and very special.
Lastly, on TV, we frequently watch you judge food on Chopped. So, what do you look for in a well-composed dish?
I look for specific things in different types of food. But, there are 3 things I always think about:
1. Flavor. It needs to taste good.
2. Balance. No matter what the components of the dish are, they need to work together. The food needs to be balanced in terms of flavor, texture, and acidity.
3. Ratio. It has never made sense to me when the portion size of the protein is wildly out of control. Don’t give me a delicious piece of steak and one drop of potatoes. The ratio needs to make sense on the plate.
Please click here for tickets. General Admission is $150, 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. VIP tickets are $250, this includes the clambake, a gift bag, and after party, 10:00 p.m. – 12 a.m. Bonus, a portion of this year’s proceeds benefit local Montauk charities.
- Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa [official site]