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Local Hamptons Chef To Cook At Prestigious James Beard House In Manhattan

Sydney A. Braat

Chef Damien O'Donnell, local chef and owner of Harbor Bistro. (Courtesy Photo)

Chef Damien O'Donnell, local chef and owner of Harbor Bistro in East Hampton, will cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on Saturday, January 28th at 7 p.m. Dinners at the Beard House feature "multi-course meals, complemented by wine pairings, prepared by guest chefs from around the world."

"I'm very much looking forward to having the opportunity to cook in James Beard's kitchen," said Chef O'Donnell. "He was an innovative Chef and trend setter of the gastronomic lifestyle. What the James Beard Foundation does to help educate people about cuisine, their scholarship programs and overall support of chefs is outstanding."

Chef O'Donnell is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase his skills at the James Beard House. "Since I was a young kid going off to culinary school, I knew that cooking at the James Beard House was a huge milestone for a career chef," he added. "I can't express the gratitude and appreciation I feel for being invited to cook in a kitchen with as much history as the Beard House Kitchen."

At the young age of 15, Chef O'Donnell got his first taste of the restaurant world. He began as a dishwasher for a catering company in Monroe, NY and slowly moved up the ranks eventually becoming a full-time operating manager. O'Donnell was later accepted into the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After graduating in 1997, O'Donnell began working as a prep cook in Manhattan where he learned the value of hands-on experience. In January 1999, he accepted a position of line cook at Roy's NYC in the Marriot Financial Center Hotel where he became much more creative and artistic with his work. O'Donnell worked alongside some of Chef Yamaguchi's talented friends including: Chef Ming Tsai, the 2002 James Beard House Foundation's Best Chef of the North East, Chef Michael Lomonaco, who had roles at Le Cirque, the 21 Club, and Windows of the World, and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the highly influential proprietor of NOBU, Matsuhisa, and Upon.

In 2006, O'Donnell's dream of opening his own restaurant came true. The chef opened Harbor Bistro in East Hampton, NY, which offers New-American cuisine with hints of Asian flavors and breathtaking water views. He has also competed on the Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped, and was invited to participate in Chefs and Champagne in 2009 and in the Great Chefs of Long Island 2014.

O'Donnell's menu, dubbed "East Meets East End," will feature local resources with his signature Asian-style, paired with Wolffer Estate wines. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception, passed hors d'oeuvres, and Wolffer Estate Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Rosé 2013.

The hors d'oeuvres menu includes Yellowfin Tuna Poke with Sweet Onions, Macadamia Nuts, Ginger Soy Sauce, and Spicy Mayonnaise; Winter Fluke Ceviche with Coriander, Tomatillo Relish, and Avocado Crema on Plantain Chips; Tandoori-Spiced Fried Oysters with Red Lentil Hummus and Spicy Raita; Bonac Clams with Jalapeño Ponzu and Cedar Plank-Roasted Tomato Salsa; and Mongolian Beef Short Rib Lettuce Wraps with Crispy Kataifi. The five-course dinner menu features Maine Lobster Tail Tempura with Baby Kale-Carrot Salad, Toasted Almonds, and Red Curry Sauce; Sea Scallops with Risotto Croquette, Sherry-Pickled Shiitakes, Marinated Beets, Celeriac Velouté, and Tarragon; Roasted Crescent Farms Duck Breast with Roasted Squash Hash, Five-Spice Walnuts, Bok Choy, and Blood Orange-Star Anise Gastrique; Kobe Beef Tataki with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Red Endive, Pancetta, Watercress, Apple, and Yuzu-Soy Butter; and Pistachio Financier with Lemongrass Bavarois and Passion Fruit Sorbet.

"I would never be in the place or have had the opportunity to be a part of the James Beard House if it wasn't for the support of my family, the guidance of some great chefs and of course every prep cook, line cook, dishwasher and dining room staff person who helped me grow along the way," reflected Chef O'Donnell. "It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of something with so much culinary prestige."

Tickets to this delicious dinner cost $175 per person and $135 for James Beard Foundation members.

James Beard House is located at 167 West 12th Street in New York City. For more information, call 212-627-2308 or visit www.jamesbeard.org.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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