Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Chef Billy Oliva of Delmonico’s Southampton

“Nothing is better than a classic Delmonico’s Steak, which can be especially delicious and surprising when stuffed with Shinnecock Bay Oysters.” Does Delmonico’s of Southampton Executive Chef Billy Oliva have your attention yet? If your mouth’s watering at this point, you’re either imagining that culinary concoction or thinking back to the moment you tasted it as Oliva served his creation to wowed guests and judges alike at last July’s inaugural GrillHampton event. As Oliva looks forward to getting back into the grilling competition at Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda as it kicks of Dan’s Taste of Summer weekend at Sayre Park this July 11, the chef talks about his favorite local fare, finding inspiration and more.

This year the weekend comprising Taste of Two Forks and GrillHampton has been dubbed Dan’s Taste of Summer. What does the phrase “taste of summer” mean to you?

The true “taste of summer” is simple and refreshing; lemon and basil instantly come to mind.

What are you most looking forward to as you return to Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and GrillHampton this year?

I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates and competitors. Another great part of these events is getting to see our returning customers and interact with them in fun and unique settings.

What did you learn at last year’s GrillHampton that you’ll take into the competition this year?
Revenge is sweet.

Why is Team Hamptons going to reign supreme over Team NYC in 2014?

We have our first year under our belt and we have home-field advantage.

Describe your best/favorite culinary experience over the past year.

Cooking at the James Beard House on Valentine’s Day was unforgettable. Any dinner at the James Beard House is an honor, but getting to cook in this intimate setting with my Delmonico’s team for Valentine’s Day was a once-in-a-life-time experience.

What have been the biggest and best changes you’ve witnessed in the culinary culture of the East End?

Bringing an institution like Delmonico’s to Southampton, and being able to connect with our historical NYC roots while keeping relevant to this new and exciting set of diners.

When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?

Satur Farms Cutchogue comes to mind, along with a few favorite ingredients—potatoes, striped bass and corn.

Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?

I tend to rely on music and nature to point me in the right direction. Visiting other restaurants and staying up-to-date on newspapers can provide great sources of inspiration as well.

What’s your favorite food- or drink-related song these days?

Lately I’ve been listening to Blue Oyster Cult in anticipation of our new alfresco raw bar, The Pearl, opening in Southampton in May.

If you were packing for an East End picnic, what are 3 things we’d find in your basket?

I would be sure to bring along a sparkling rosé as well as a peppermill and a truffle shaver.

What drink are you looking forward to enjoying on a hot summer night?

Delmonico’s Thymeline 1837.

Finish this sentence: An empty plate is…a good sign! A licked plated is even better.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with GrillHampton on Friday, July 11, from 8  to 11 p.m. at Sayre Park, 156 Snakehollow Road, Bridgehampon. General admission tickets are $120 (inclusive of all food and beverages).

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks is Saturday, July 12, at Sayre Park, 156 Snakehollow Road, Bridgehampon. Taste of Two Forks VIP tickets are available for $240, including early admission from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; General admission tickets from 7:30  to 10 p.m. are available for $160 (inclusive of all food and beverages).

Dan’s Taste of Summer Weekend Packages are available as well: 1 ticket for GrillHampton and 1 general admission ticket for Taste of Two Forks is $260; 1 ticket for GrillHampton and 1 VIP ticket for Taste of Two Forks is $340.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

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