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Q&A with Chef John Yaz of Crow’s Nest, Montauk

Baldor Editors Jul 13 , 2016

Summer is officially here and we’re trying (unsuccessfully) to get to the beach.  This week, we tried to live vicariously through Chef John Yaz, the creative force behind Montauk’s epically popular hotel and restaurant, The Crow’s Nest.  Yaz has been called “one of The Hamptons’ best chefs” by the New York Times and has an impressive pedigree that includes stints at Le Bernardin, Daniel and Bouley.  He’s also a Montauk lifer and can be found surfing and fishing when he isn’t in the kitchen. 

 

chefyaz

 

 

What is your favorite summer cocktail?

Crow’s Nest watermelon cooler, made with fresh watermelon juice, mint, lemon and vodka.  Also a chilled French rose.

 

What is your favorite summer ingredient?  What is your favorite dish to use it in?

 Local sweet corn. I use it in seared local scallops with grilled corn salad, corn and pepper sauce.

 

What is your least favorite food?

Anything with artificial ingredients

 

What was your first job in the food business?

I started as a dishwasher right here at the Crow’s Nest 38 years ago.

 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Realistically, probably a furniture maker. In my dreams, an electric blues guitarist.

 

What is the best thing about working in Montauk?  What’s the worst?

Best thing is being able to get a surf session in before work in the morning and, as busy as it is, you know the end of the season is coming.  Worst part is wanting the summer to go by fast.

 

What is the strangest request you’ve ever gotten from a diner?

Too gross to discuss. Other than that, I cook privately in the off season, so many different diets. 

 

What is the most memorable moment you’ve had during your time at Crow’s Nest?

Smoothly serving well over 500 covers. Cooking a 200 guest wedding last September for two local families!

 

As a person who is always making someone else’s dream vacation come true, do you have any dream vacations of your own?

Easy one, to be on a surfing and fishing vacation with my two sons Brian and Philip somewhere warm and with no crowds.

 

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