August 09, 2006

Wine and Dine at Food Fest

By Amy Patton

Eat, drink and . . . meet Jerry? Yes, it's time for the second annual Hamptons Wine and Food Festival and the festivities will kick off Friday at Judy Licht and Jerry Della Femina's oceanfront home in East Hampton.

Saturday and Sunday at the HWFF's location at Ross School will see lots of cooking demonstrations, informational seminars and oodles of wine and liquor tastings. Yum!

Last Friday, the initial phase of the Hamptons Platinum Chef competition took place in Bridgehampton and yielded a pared-down field of four local chefs: Richard Lanza of Passionfish, Keith Greene of JLX, Matt Ross of East Hampton Point, and Inn Spot on the Bay's Colette Connor.

The original nine chefs were asked to use tomato in their preparations and dishes ranged from lobster salad-stuffed tomato, seared scallops with heirloom tomatoes and tomato-avocado ice cream. Connor, the only woman in the competition again this year, took top honors in 2005's Platinum Chef contest and bagged a trip to Tahiti in January as her prize.

"We had such a great time," she reported during Friday's first round. "And the food there was fantastic!"

Twenty eight year-old Greene is a culinary star in his own right. The Sag Harbor chef and Southampton native is a finalist on Fox network's "Hell's Kitchen" (he's earned the nickname "K-Grease," a moniker assigned by fans of the show). If Greene prevails against the five other competitors, he will soon be departing the East End. First prize is a position as executive chef of T-Bones Chophouse and Grill in the new Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas.

Round two of the HWFF's Platinum Chef contest will open the Festival on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Ross School's Viking Cooking Stage. The four semi-finalists will engage in a round robin competition with a newly revealed secret ingredient. The third and final round, with just two chefs left standing, will happen Sunday.

The opening party on Friday is sponsored by Level Vodka and the cuisine will be Spanish-inspired, small plate delicacies prepared by Sag Harbor caterer Ralph Pagano, the owner of Fat Ralph's. Plus live reggae and bossa nova music is on tap. "Dance barefoot on the beach!" urged HFWF's key organizer, Jodi Della Femina. The proceeds from Friday's event will benefit Ross School.

Wine lovers will have much to do (and drink!) at the fest. Banfi vintners will hold a tasting session at noon with Vino University's James Dunne. A French Champagne tasting will happen with bubbly expert Jean Luc Le D. At 1 p.m., "Big Reds" of Long Island will be discussed along with Spanish varietals and wines of Bordeaux with Robin Kelley O'Connor. Food Network chef Sandra Lee ("Semi-Homemade Cooking") will take the Viking stage at 4 p.m. to prepare some goodies.

And don't miss Saturday's Grand Tasting to be held in the American Express Grand Tasting Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. Ticket holders will enjoy over 150 wines and spirits that will be accompanied by signature dish samplings from top local restaurants. Sunday's final Grand Tasting will happen from 1 to 5 p.m. And, of course, the two remaining chefs in the Hamptons Platinum Chef Competition will face off with their knives and spatulas Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Ticket info is as follows: all daytime tickets purchased for Saturday and Sunday include access to the Viking Cooking Stage for chef demonstrations and competitions. For a full schedule of events and to score tickets, go to www.hamptonswineandfood.com.

Hamptons Wine & Food Festival Ticket Info


Limited access ticket provides admission to any individual tasting seminar on Saturday or Sunday afternoon for a fee of $50 per person.


Friday night: Tapas & Tinis Sunset Kick-Off Party will happen in East Hampton to benefit the Steven J. Ross Scholarship Fund. Limited availability — $150 per person.


Select 4 seminars for Saturday or Sunday and you will be charged $125 per person. Discounts will automatically be applied.


Saturday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. or Sunday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. — $125 per person.


Includes admission to party tent with live band and dancing and VIP Terrace bars — $175 per person.


Includes two seminars on Sunday afternoon and access to Sunday's Grand Tasting — $150 per person. Call (631) 613-3110 for Sunday Combo Pass.


Includes full weekend of seminars, VIP Access to both Grand Tastings, and Champagne Sunday Brunch-limited availability — $500 per person. Call 613-3110 for VIP Platinum Passes

A limited number of walk-up tickets may be available at registration in the Center For Well Being at Ross School during the event.

To buy VIP tickets or ask questions about placing a ticket order, call 613-3110. No one under 21 years-old will be admitted.

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