By Tessa Raebeck
The small East End community gets even smaller when you enter the restaurant world, where world-class chefs started together as line cooks and waiters from one hit restaurant become owners of the next.
A strong testament to the intimacy of the local restaurant community is A Love Shared, a collaborative effort to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The efforts are led by the nonprofit Hayden’s Heroes, a group of renowned Long Island chefs, local farmers and community businesses that banded together after their friend and colleague Gerry Hayden was diagnosed with ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2011.
On October 13, Hayden’s Heroes held its first A Love Shared benefit, a family style dinner at 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue. Food was provided by a collaboration of 12 featured chefs. Hoping to raise $75,000 for ALS research and quality of life care for Hayden, the event surpassed all expectations, ultimately raising over $150,000.
“They just had such an outpouring of people that wanted to participate and wanted to get involved with the organization,” said Lindsey Meyers of WordHampton Public Relations in East Hampton, a firm that handled public relations for the event. “They thought it would be great after the first benefit to extend it and do something for the holidays.”
Following the benefit’s success, the 12 chefs featured at the dinner together formed the Long Island Culinary Collaborative. Along with The North Fork Table and Inn, where Hayden is the head chef, and A Love Shared, the group is selling A Love Shared gift boxes in Hayden’s honor during the holiday season.
Each wooden box is made by hand in Maine and contains twelve signature sauces, one from each chef. They cost $175, with all proceeds going toward efforts to raise awareness about ALS, to promote research for ALS and to raise money for quality of life care for Hayden and other ALS patients in need.
The included sauces vary from spicy to sweet, classic to innovative, with the signature local ingredients and personal touches of Long Island’s best chefs.
Head chef and owner of Amarelle in Wading River, Lia Fallon, created Mediterranean fig chutney for the gift boxes. There is a mignonette sauce by Terry Harwood, the chef and owner of the Vine Street Café on Shelter Island and a salsa verde by Sam McClendon of Sag Harbor’s The Beacon and Bell & Anchor. Michael Meehan, executive chef at H2O Seafood Grill in Smithtown, made a pickled corn relish for the boxes and Christian Mir of the Stone Creek Inn provided ginger vinaigrette. Often called the father of North Fork cuisine, restaurateur and chef John Ross created a wild beach plum sauce, collecting ingredients from local dunes.
Another staple of the North Fork restaurant scene, Keith Luce, made a duck wine sauce. Luce is the mind behind the MAIN project in Greenport’s Historic Stirling Square, which includes MAIN restaurant, Nosh, a bakery and espresso bar, and a takeout window, Prep. The White House honored Luce as an American Culinary Ambassador last summer.
Tom Schaudel, called one of Long Island’s best-known chefs by The New York Times, contributed a Thai red curry broth. Schaudel is the head chef and co-owner of A Lure in Southold and A Mano in Mattituck. Guy Reuge, who runs the Mirabelle Restaurant and neighboring Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook Village, created piccalilli, which is a relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices. A hot BBQ sauce is included in the gift boxes, made by Joe Realmuto, the head chef of Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton who also oversees the food at its sister restaurants, Amagansett’s La Fondita, Nick & Toni’s Café in the city and Townline BBQ in Sagaponack.
Rounding out the collection are sauces by Hayden and his wife, Claudia Fleming. Fleming, the pastry chef at the North Fork Table & Inn, created a passion fruit caramel and her husband, the restaurant’s executive chef, made a red pepper jimmy jam.
The collection is limited at 100 gift boxes, with each box containing all 12 signature sauces. To purchase a gift box visit aloveshared.com or call Jeri Woodhouse at (631) 834-1816.