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Star chef Stephan Bogardus leaves North Fork Table & Inn in Southold

Long Island native Stephan Bogardus is determined to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, a Long Island legend, while carving his own path as executive chef of North Fork Table and Inn in Southold. (Credit: Newsday)

Three years after he took over the kitchen reins at Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn, Stephan Bogardus has left the restaurant, one of Long Island’s most decorated. The Southold native, who had been chef de cuisine from 2011 to 2013, returned in 2015 soon after founding chef-partner, Gerry Hayden, died.

Bogardus retained Hayden’s refinement and commitment to local produce and fish, though his menu evolved to become more experimental. In 2016, he earned a three-and-a-half-star review from Newsday. (Under Hayden’s direction, the restaurant had earned four stars in 2009).

Bogardus, 30, cut a dashing figure on the North Fork, pursuing such divergent hobbies as yoga, hunting and motorcycling. Of his departure he said only that "it was time to move on." Monday was his last day in the Southold kitchen, and he will be heading to Yountville, California, to work for a few weeks at Thomas Keller’s vaunted French Laundry before deciding on his next move.

North Fork Table & Inn opened in 2006, a collaboration between culinary power couple Hayden and pastry chef Claudia Fleming and hospitality veterans Mike and Mary Mraz. Fleming said that the partners were “grateful to Stephan for his service when we needed him most, after Gerry’s passing. His passion and talent were a great asset to our team.”

She announced that the restaurant’s new executive chef would be Brian Wilson, 44, formerly executive chef at Restaurant Montmartre in Washington, D.C., chef-owner of La Rive Breton in Leonardtown, Maryland, and earlier in his career, a veteran of Washington D.C.-area restaurants including Tallula, Eat Bar, 2941 Restaurant and Palena, where he worked under James Beard Award winner and former White House chef Frank Ruta. Wilson plans to start this weekend.

The future of the North Fork property is an unknown.  “We’re always open to exploring the right opportunity if one should present itself,” Fleming said. “However, we are fully committed to getting ready for a great season with a talented new chef.”

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