The Executive Chef and an Owner of Bay Kitchen Bar, Eric Miller, attended The Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated in 1980. After graduation, Chef worked in notable kitchens including at The Helmsley Palace Hotel in Manhattan, Aspen’s Charlemagne Restaurant, and worked under famed chef, Christian Delouvrier, at Le Parker Meridien’s Maurice.
In 2005, Miller came out east, and acquiring catering firms FOOD & CO and Hampton Clam Bake and Catering Company, go-to services for the Hamptons’ elite. With these projects, Miller firmly established relationships with local purveyors and fisheries while cementing his Long Island roots. Chef joins Bay Kitchen Bar in East Hampton, encompassing his culinary heritage, a dream team of partners and colleagues and a magical location. Chef Eric Miller dishes on the conception of the restaurant, the dishes you should order at least twice, and more in this exclusive interview.
Who are your preferred purveyors on the East End he sources ingredients from?
For fish, I like Stuart’s Fish Market in Amagansett, as they’re very well connected to all the local fisherman. Multi Aquaculture Systems is also a favorite and a long time local source of fresh seafoood. When it comes to vegetables, we look to a variety of local farms like Balsam Farms, Wenofske Farms (specifically for our local sweet corn), Satur Farms, Koppert Cress and Sid Wainer & Son Farms – all great sources for fresh vegetables. Lastly, we source our meat and poultry from Crescent Farms, and source our ducks from the North Fork and D’Artagnan for a Brune Landaise chicken farmed in Upstate New York, all free range and natural. Together, these vendors are the source of most of what’s in my cupboard.
What originally brought you to the East End?
I’ve been coming to the east end since I was in high school – my wife Cathy and I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth. The oceans, bays, fishing and farming and the history…there’s no place quite like it.
How did the concept of Bay Kitchen Bar begin?
The concept is simple and delicious. We wanted to create a new modern cuisine based on the bounty of the North East – we call it “modern eastern shore cuisine.” I’m classically trained in some of New York City’s finest kitchens and have had the chance to share the kitchen with some great chefs along the way. The rest melds my history with the historic cuisine of the eastern shore.
What are your favorite dishes to create?
My favorite dish is always the freshest catch of the day paired with a local vegetable or potatoes. For example, recently I’ve been cooking up local fluke with lemon, parsley, capers and finely chopped herbs, pairing it with whatever seasonal greens I have on hand.
What do you love most about the location of the restaurant?
Definitely Bay Kitchen Bar’s proximity to water, and the bay. The restaurant is located at the foot of a 3 mile harbor in East Hampton, with a constant flow of fishing boats coming and going, and clammers and oystermen digging for shellfish. I love the constant energy this brings, and the sunset over the bay can make your heart stop.
What are the most popular dishes on the menu?
All things seafood. Guests love our local fish, especially our day boat scallops, Montauk tuna, sea bass, the elusive local black fish and fluke caught daily. Also, when someone discovers the North Fork duck or organic chicken they’re sure to be happy.