Written By: Joanne Harras

The inaugural GrillHampton was an evening of fine food and a festive atmosphere, enjoyed by guests and chefs from the Hamptons and New York City alike. Herewith, a tasting menu of the highlights and memorable moments… •Weeks before the big night, Chef David Hersh seemed to be joking when he revealed his GrillHampton preparation regimen, unique among the myriad competitors under the tent. “I’m exercising three times a day and trying to mentally prepare for this gruesome battle ahead,” he said. “I’ve hired a coach to make sure that I’m ready for this competition. We are working around the clock going over the details and game plan for the day.” When Rumba’s Dominican Ribs reigned victorious as the Blue Moon People’s Choice Award winner, were those whispers we heard about more chefs hiring trainers for next year? •The inaugural GrillHampton was, in an utter (not udder!) coincidence, held on Cow Appreciation Day. “Is it really Cow Appreciation Day?” Chef Keith Luce asked with a conspiratorial grin as he sliced a braised short rib. “Well, we certainly do appreciate them.” •“It’s like the Bermuda Triangle, but I don’t want to get out.”—A very happy guest standing in one tent corner surrounded by the tippling triumvirate of Miami Cocktail Co., Glenfiddich (serving 12-, 15- and 18-year varieties), and Sailor Jerry rum, as he sipped their version of the classic Dark and Stormy—the aptly named Perfect Storm. •Chef Colin Ambrose of Estia’s Little Kitchen stepped away from the corn on his grill to share a story about a photography project he was working on with then-unknown New York City sous chefs a decade ago, among them a man named Joey Campanaro. With a glance over his shoulder, Ambrose nodded toward the acclaimed chef from NYC’s The Little Owl—Joey Campanaro—serendipitously working in the booth next door to his own. “I get here and there he is, right next to me. I haven’t seen him in 10 years,” Ambrose said with a smile. “That makes a night like this even more special.” •Barbara from Hampton Bays captured the full flavor of the evening: “I’m eating my way around the world—a French burger, tacos, barbecue from Hill Country—it’s like EPCOT for people who love to eat.” •Amid its offerings at GrillHampton, Blue Moon served its Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale and a selection of its Proximity, a sauvignon-blanc-and-beer creation that paired perfectly with the night’s food. The pourers also served up the story of how Blue Moon got its name. Originally brewed underneath Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, it was served only at the baseball stadium’s SandLot Brewery and was affectionately called Belly Slide, “in honor of the players’ head-first slides into bases right above where the beer was being made.” As Belly Flop began to be distributed outside Coors Field, the powers that be decided a new name was in order. Amid numerous suggestions, a secretary commented that “You only get to drink something like this once in a …” •“Geoffrey can I get a photo Mr. Zakarian would it be okay to get a picture Geoffrey I’m a huge fan can you sign this Geofftrey I can’t believe I’m getting to shake your hand Mr. Zakarian I have a recipe you’d love Geoffrey you have to try this…”—The cacophony of fans enjoying their up-close-and-personal moments with the GrillHampton host, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (who accommodated every one, of course) •The aroma of smoke rising from the cherry wood on the Foody’s grill may have inspired a new fragrance, or at the very least, a laundry product. “I’m going to stand here all night and let the smell soak into my clothes,” enthused Vincent from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, “and then I’m never washing them again.” •Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktail, The Go To—a tasty blend of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice and ginger beer—was a hit at GrillHampton. As we fondly look back on the magic of this gourmand’s delight of an evening, and look ahead to a summer filled with the fine food and beverages that surround us on the East End, we offer another cocktail to toast the East End, NYC and another wonderful summer season.