Mixing It Up at Loaves and Fishes Cooking School
BY Haley Binn
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC STRIFFLER
The students learn the basics of prepping vegetables for grilling.
So maybe it wasn’t a wild night, but it was a perfect girls’ night out. Last summer I wrote stories that involved a variety of outdoor activities, but for me, this season has been all about cuisine. Hence, the Loaves & Fishes Cooking School was the perfect ending to my foodie-focused summer. (Watch video of my visit to the school here.) Summer on a Plate author and gourmet purveyor Anna Pump is touted far and wide for her shop, where her famous lobster and halibut salads are highly coveted. You can always find her behind the counter, serving up baked goods and fresh food made with local produce in an atmosphere that seems almost lost in time.
Over the years, I have purchased Anna’s books, bought her prepared specialties and shopped at the Bridgehampton store for linens and such; now it was time to cook like her. I rounded up nine equally eager girlfriends, and on a Thursday evening we made our way to the Bridgehampton Inn, wearing chef-required closed-toe shoes with our hair pulled back, ready to cook.
As we entered the school, located behind the inn, we were greeted by chef Carolyn Giacalone. She set up individual workstations for each of us, complete with aprons, cutting boards, knives and recipes. We each picked a partner and a recipe, and we were off. Her goal was for us to be seated, drinking wine (not me, not to worry) and eating dinner within two hours. We had chosen the class theme of “everything on the grill,” so a cornucopia of eggplants and portobello mushrooms from one of chef Giacalone’s favorite farm stands—East End Community Organic Farm (55 Long Lane, East Hampton, 329-4694; )—and cheeses was spread out before us. We learned how to use water-soaked cedar planks to grill salmon. We made a Japanese-style chicken with a ginger dipping sauce and grilled new potatoes and vegetables on water-soaked wood skewers. Our lone off-thegrill items—fruit biscotti and chocolate sorbet—rounded out the menu.
Over the next several hours, chef Giacalone kept all of us budding gourmands on track. We learned a few kitchen tricks, took home great recipes and had plenty of laughs—all ingredients for my ideal summer evening. The only thing missing from my fantasy foodie adventure was actually meeting the queen of gourmet, the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. There’s always next summer. Loaves & Fishes Cooking School, Bridgehampton Inn, 2266 Main St.; Loaves & Fishes Cookshop, 2422 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton, 537-6066; landfcookshop.com