Food Lab Conference at Stony Brook Southampton was a whirlwind weekend celebration of, among other things, the local bounty of Long Island food and drink. The Opening reception was a showcase of local fare such as Radish Slices with Beet Jalapeno Hummus (Amber Waves Farm and Foster Farm); Goat Cheese and Radish Poppers (Goodale Farms and Foster Farm); Ceviche Shooters with Local Bay Scallops (Amber Waves Farms, Deer Run Farms, Cor-J Seafood, Gosman's Dock); Tuna Tartare over Crispy Sesame Rice (Amber Waves Farm and Gosman's Dock). Every offering was better than the last and we particularly loved the cruchy Tuna Tartare offering and the briny Ceviche Shooters. All amazing with a well orchestrated group of charming, attractive servers.
Friday evening featured a conversation with Patty Gentry the owner and chef at Early Girl Farm in Bellport in conversation with Dorothy Kalins, the founding editor of Saveur Magazine. The conversation featured a screening of footage from a documentary award winning filmmaker Roger Sherman is working on about Patty and her life as a farmer. Ms. Gentry was a warm and engaging presence with a folksy way about her. The work in progress film showcased the difficulties and joys of farming and Ms.Gentry's near poetic approach to farming in which she compares her tomatoes to Sophia Loren and talks to her vegetables to encourage their growth.
"In my early life I became fascinated how people related to food and how it was part of who they are," Ms. Bastianich observed. "Food is part of their roots and I noticed how hard they (immigrants) try to make it what they remember from Italy. So, Italian American cuisine is a valiant cuisine and reflects new circumstance in the United States such as the abundance of meat which was rarely available or used in Italy."
|Roman Roth and Mark Rhodes|
|Lynn checking out the Hemp|
All in all, the 5th Food Lab left us with a feeling near euphoria having been able to eat and drink in abundance the best of Long Island food and wine and an appreciation of the variety of the same. The event was blessedly free of party politics and the genial atmosphere was palpable.