7/23/2012 03:35:00 PM

Recap: Chefs and Champagne Brings Top City Toques To The Hamptons

Well-to-do foodies hoping to hobnob with high profile chefs found their holy grail at the James Beard Foundation’s annual Chefs & Champagne event, held this past Saturday at Wölffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack, NY. More than 30 chefs were on hand to cook, chat and of course patiently pose for countless fan pics.

Author and Food Network judge Ted Allen was the evening’s honoree, along with a number of other Chopped judges, like Maneet Chauhan, Marcus Samuelsson (in a mad-for-plaid ensemble), Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and a very dapper Geoffrey Zakarian, while a host of other boldfacers including David Bouley, Cesare Casella, Jehangir Mehta, Seamus Mullen and Todd English (oft swarmed by the ladies) upped the star chef ante.

Food abounded, the champagne (and wine) flowed and a grand time was had by all. Here are our top five bites:

1. Pulpo à la La Brasa, Seamus Mullen (Tertulia): Perfectly grilled octopus boosted by summer squash and a light olive vinaigrette resulted in a dish that made us realize dining at Tertulia was an immediate must.

2. Spiedini di Mortadella Parmacotta al Balsamico di Famiglia, Cesare Casella (Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto): Satisfying salty and oozing with cheese, this was pretty much the best fancy-ish sammie we’ve had.

3. Smoked shrimp rolls, Marcus Jernmark (Aquavit): After overdosing on lobster earlier in the week (#thingsyousayinthehamptons), we were glad to see this one and it didn’t disappoint –the shrimp was lightly dressed and served with only a bottom bun, so the bread-to-filling ratio was ideal.

4. Mascarpone mousse with roasted strawberries, Heather Carlucci (Print): The roasted strawberries exploded with flavor, elevating the creamy white mousse that was already delicious enough on its own.

5. Champagne Pâte de Fruits, Marc Aumont (The Modern) Despite a schmancy name, this one basically tasted like upscale candy and was served on a bed of crushed Pop Rocks. Need we say more?


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