Chef Rocco Dispirito takes a page from his new book Rocco's Healthy & Delicious, due out this fall, by turning to his own garden and the Hamptons' endless bounty of produce to create good-for-you summer dishes.
What is your best memory of summers out East? Growing my own vegetable and herb garden and waking up excited to see what had appeared overnight. I grew so many herbs, I would give the leftover to local chefs and restaurants.
Which town is your favorite? That’s like picking a favorite child or spice! I love Southampton for its old-school-charm restaurants like Sant Ambroeus, Bridgehampton for its open fields and perfect tree-covered roads for cycling, and East Hampton for its spectacular Main Street glamour and farmers’ roadside stands.
When out East, what will you be cooking? Lots and lots of fresh local vegetables!
With all the amazing farms and purveyors to choose from, what is your favorite spot to get the freshest product? In summer it’s an embarrassment of riches. Cor-J for seafood is a stunning example. They have everything and it’s fresh, fresh, fresh!
Favorite summertime ingredient? The tomatoes I grow— and the joy they bring.
When not cooking, what are you doing in the Hamptons? Lots of cycling through the back roads of Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and East Hampton. And extreme entertaining. My grill usually retires in September.
Any secret spots you can share? Not sure there are many secrets left, but Shelter Island still seems to be the least-traveled path and perfect for a lazy cycling/food tour.
If you hosted a fantasy beachside dinner, who would be at the table? Marcus Aurelius, the Dalai Lama, and Ina Garten, with Bobby Flay working the grill!