Tag Archives: local food



Two weeks ago I had the great good fortune to shoot some television with my friends Steve Haweeli, from Wordhampton PR, and Chef Michael Rozzi from the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. I’ve known both of these guys for over 20 years and they’re both NY Yankees fans. As a Chicago Cubs fan, this was a good year for all of us to catch up. Steve currently hosts a show called “foodTalk” on LTV in East Hampton and this is where we shot the show.

Most of our conversation focused on cooking and farming on the east end of Long Island. It is one of the few places in the United States where farming, fishing, winemaking, and more, happens in one place. There are also a lot of food entrepreneurs, coffee roasters, makers of spirits, and textiles in the area. It’s a great place to cook because of these close relationships. 

We also covered olive oil, gardening, golf, eggs, ramen, and life in general on the east end. It is a fun 27 or so minutes that goes by in a flash, with no edits just to keep it edgy.

Here is a link to the video of the discussion. Check it out and feel free to share it all over the place. 

Private Chef Services 2017

Private Chef Services 2017

It’s been a while since I last posted here and as 2016 winds down I have already begun to refine my plans for my Private Chef Services 2017. This refinement is a continuous process that strives to keep up with changes in the ways that people want to eat and entertain. Continue reading Private Chef Services 2017

My First Chilled Tomato Soup of 2016

My First Chilled Tomato Soup of 2016

Ripe beefsteak tomatoes have finally arrived on the east end of Long Island. They are about a week or two behind local cherry tomatoes and it’s great to have the whole tomato family around to cook (and not cook) with for the remainder of the summer. Continue reading My First Chilled Tomato Soup of 2016

Cooking: Summer in the Hamptons 2016

Cooking: Summer in the Hamptons 2016

Today is the first day of summer and it is also the start of my 25th summer season of cooking in the Hamptons. My first summer of cooking on the east end of Long Island was in 1992 with the opening of Della Femina restaurant in East Hampton. A lot has happened since then, like opening the 1770 House in 2002 and cittanuova in 2004. But no matter where I have been, cooking has always been a part of it.

This season finds me, once again, cooking privately in Bridgehampton on Sagaponack Pond. Over the years, I have always supported local farmers and people who fish and hunt on the east end of Long Island. This year is no different. Food artisans and other food-related businesses all find places on my menus and now I am involved with growing a lot of the vegetables that I use in the kitchen.

I have been cooking from the garden for several weeks and I thought I would share a few photos of what I have been doing in the kitchen. Take a look, grow some stuff and cook it. Summer is here!

2016, Kevin Penner, All Rights Reserved

“Cooked” by Michael Pollan

Some thoughts on “Cooked” by Michael Pollan on Netflix

This past Friday, February 19, Netflix added a four-part documentary to its programming line-up. It is called “Cooked” and it is based on a book of the same name by noted food journalist and accomplished home cook Michael Pollan. Continue reading “Cooked” by Michael Pollan

My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

My good friend, Ina Garten, has popularized my meatloaf recipe that I made at the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. We have made it together on her show, The Barefoot Contessa. It should feed six to eight people with additional sides and perhaps a salad to start the meal. Please enjoy my meatloaf recipe from the 1770 House. You can catch a video demo here on The Barefoot Contessa. Continue reading My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

This past summer I made my first foray into the world of private chef services. Until this summer, I had prepared an occasional private event, usually for good customers of the restaurants I was involved with, or for friends. But I have found that I really enjoy this type of work and now I want to make it a larger part of the services I offer.

This service will be a premium one. I don’t want to do weddings for 300 guests but, instead, private dinner parties with customized menus. The menus may be presented as buffets, plated and coursed events, or as tasting menus with a variety of options. I will also offer paired food and beverage menus that reflect the use of locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally sourced fish and meats and locally produced wines, beers, ciders and coffee. I also prefer to work with organic and bio-dynamic foods. Continue reading Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Summer Food 2015 in Pictures

Here is a photo recollection of the things I cooked this summer and some photos of local foods as well–the things I get to cook.

Copyright 2015 Kevin Penner

Cooking on the East End at Home

I came to the east end of Long Island twenty-four years ago to open a restaurant. At that time, there were a couple of people growing vegetables to sell to restaurants, most from what were large gardens and not farms. There were some people fishing in the local waters and some baymen clamming and harvesting bay scallops who would then sell to local restaurants and markets. The wineries were mostly new and trying to figure out what grapes to grow and how to properly vinify them. Most of the local restaurants were buying their produce and meat and fish from jobbers and distributors who might also have been importers of some European products.

So it is interesting to look back at those times from the standpoint of today on the east end. The North and South Forks of Long Island have become amazing places to cook, farm, fish and make wine. We now have a large number of local oyster beds that produce some of the finest oysters in the United States. The bay scallops, which were adversely affected by a brown tide in the mid-1980s, have come back to solid levels. The wineries have refined their efforts so dramatically that solid and consistent bottlings have replaced the inconsistent and not so good offerings of the time when I came here. We have local wheat and bakers who mill that wheat and make great bread with it. Small scale food production businesses continue to blossom and sell their products in the NYC market and in some cases nationwide. A few farmers on both forks are raising cattle, sheep, hogs and chickens of outstanding quality. The farmers who focus on vegetables are now large and well managed, turning out plenty of fantastic tomatoes, greens, potatoes, onions, garlic, sweetcorn and much, much more. It is now possible to cook in a restaurant that uses almost 100% locally grown, caught and produced products. Who would have thought this was possible when I first arrived? Not me.

I will go one step further and say that right now, in 2015, there is no finer place to cook with local ingredients in the United States. There is no other place in the United States where the farming of vegetables, fruits, grains, animal husbandry, winemaking and fishing coalesce to the degree that they do here.

This is a big claim to make, I suppose, in some quarters. But there is no other wine region in the country that has the fish and shellfish available to cooks in their area in the proximity that we do here on the east end. Long Island may be a little late to the game, but it has arrived in a very big way. When you look at the area regionally instead of locally, say from Portland, Maine to northern Virginia, the agriculture, aquaculture, fishing industry and viticulture is truly amazing and often overlooked in the food press.

The food press spends far too much time fetishizing food and chefs. The most important part of what is happening to food in the US, namely the growing demand for well made, well grown, sustainably harvested and distributed foods is happening before the chefs get their deliveries or do their purchasing. It happens on the farms and in the water and in the vineyards. I think in the future we will see restaurants playing a smaller role in food culture. The larger roles will stay with the farmers, fishermen and with the people who are remaking food manufacturing in the country.

The story I want to tell takes place where I am and where I cook. But as the growth of small-scale farming and food production continues all over the country this type of cooking can happen anywhere.

I am a chef. I have been cooking as locally as possible since I was a kid in college cooking for myself. As a chef, I have always supported local vendors and will continue to do so. My next concern is to find a way to get people to learn how to cook again so that they can enjoy delicious, healthful, locally sourced foods in their own homes. People at all economic levels have come to rely on everything from shitty prepared foods sold in big box stores and supermarket chains to high-end restaurants for their sustenance. Cooking at home at a reasonably high level, with amazing local ingredients and making truly delicious food is the future.  And it is not that difficult.

This past summer was the first one in about 30 years that I didn’t spend in a restaurant kitchen. I cooked in a private home. And while I was cooking there I came to the realization that the meals I prepared could be cooked in any home that has running water, a stove, and a few kitchen tools. In the coming weeks and months, I want to provide some recipes and insights that will allow more people to enjoy cooking well, more healthfully and entertaining at home with friends and family. We’re going to be cooking on the east end and we will be cooking at home.



copyright 2015 Kevin Penner