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The Cooking Hack a Top Chef Swears By for Next-Level Seafood

by Gabrielle Savoie

Despite the seemingly endless traffic on Highway 27, there's something oddly calming about being in the Hamptons in the summer. The weekend escape of choice for New Yorkers promises carefree beach days, picturesque small towns lined with shingled cottages and rows of hydrangeas, quaint farmers market stands, and—naturally—unapologetically fresh seafood.

This is something chef David Standridge understood all too well when he made the decision to leave the crushing city heat behind in favor of calm, quiet, and fresh local produce. The renowned chef, who helms the popular West Village staple, Café Clover, is a surprisingly natural fit for the Hamptons and its residents' craving for fresh healthy simple food. After all, he made his culinary mark with the promise of delicious, health-conscious food at Clover. So when the newly reopened Maidstone Hotel approached him to take over the iconic institution's restaurant on East Hampton's main street, he had one simple vision: to cook what his city clients would eat while on a summer vacation.

The Maidstone Hotel has an undeniable appeal. The historic buildings large wraparound porch overlooks one of the town's best views: a quiet pond lined with weeping willows and home to a family of majestic white swans (it's no surprise Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan). On a quiet July morning, we invited one of our favorite Hamptonites—local resident, home chef, and entertaining expert Athena Calderone of EyeSwoon—for a cooking lesson with chef Standridge. With a series of swoon-worthy dinner parties under her belt and her highly anticipated cookbook on the way, there was no better match for the culinary master class about to take place. On the menu: seared diver scallops with turmeric, lime butter, black lentils, and ginger chives.

After an informative (and slightly gory) cooking lesson—who knew shucking scallops was so slimy and messy?—we sat down on the scenic deck with the food-loving pair to chat cooking secrets and seafood tricks over a glass of chilled rosé. Think you knew everything about cooking the perfect seafood dish? Think again—this duo has a few must-know tips in their cooking arsenal.

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