The North Fork of Long Island, in New York State, has been known for agriculture for decades, and a recent rise in young farmers using organic and biodynamic methods has brought a pristine bounty for me to work with. While I enjoy exotic ingredients, like caviar and white truffles, I tend to showcase our local shellfish, arugula (rocket), apples and potatoes on the same level. Having spent much of my life watching the region’s culinary landscape develop, I love to show off what the North Fork has to offer.
Insider’s North Fork
The Village Cheese Shop
This is a really special shop in a beautiful area in Mattituck. I enjoy eating an Époisses cheese and pate sandwich from there, while thinking about which of their cheeses to taste next.
A Japanese restaurant that highlights local fish like no other. The chefs here apply traditional Japanese techniques to locally available produce, which makes for an amazing dining experience.
Deep Roots Farm
This is the best place to stock up on quality vegetables, pork, chicken and eggs. The farm stand is where I do all my shopping for both home and the restaurant.
Fluke: Also known as summer flounder, this fish is fantastic broiled (grilled).
Three ingredients to try
Though readily available the world over, lettuce here gives you a great taste of Long Island’s soil. I work with a biodynamic farmer who grows the best greens I’ve ever used.
There’s a diverse range of potatoes available to us here on the North Fork. They provide a fantastic insight into our farming history, and give chefs like me a broad palette of flavours to work with.
Seafood — and in particular, shellfish — is a year-round staple here. Whether it’s lobster, clams or oysters, there’s an abundance of life in our marshy, coastal waters.
Stephan Bogardus is a Long Island native and executive chef at The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold.
Published in the December issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).