Estancia Vik in Uruguay

Approaching Estancia Vik for the first time brings a sense of calm, the hacienda sits atop the highest point on an expanse of open land covered by  miles of grass to the north and tidal inlet to the east. Greeted at the gate we were immediately put at ease, a suave, tanned guide shares 10 minutes of his time. We tour the building and learn that it was originally planned for the owners’ family personal use only. Later it was determined  to be too large and instead then was transitioned to a lodge.

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Quail Hill Farm Common Table Lunch

Estia's chef Colin Ambrose with the most amazing fresh pasta lasagna we have ever tasted. — at Quail Hill Farm. Photo by Phill Lehans

The Annual Quail Hill Farm Common table event has become a ritual that I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember. This year, for the first time it was a lunch.

I read the memo wrong and arrived at 11am, lunch to me means sometime in the early afternoon. Upon arrival I found the set up crew just getting underway, tables bare, no other chefs, just Julie Resnick with her clipboard. My dish, the Inside Out Lasagna was made (14 10 inch springform pans) and ready to go into the pizza oven.

Happy to know that I wasn’t running late I took the opportunity to go home and spend two quiet hours with my wife watching a movie.

Thank you Quail Hill! That never happens.

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My Photos taken at the Common Table

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Colin Ambrose’s From Seed To Plate Series 2: BEETS

Gathering in the fields of Quail Hill Farm, Colin Ambrose again invites local farmers, seed experts and chefs to participate in this, the second video in his From Seed to Plate video series. This time, participants share their knowledge about growing and preparing the versatile and romantic root vegetable–the beet.


Petra Page-Maan & Matthew Goldfarb, seed experts at Fruition Seeds, Canandaigua, NY
Scott Chaskey, farmer at Quail Hill Farm, Amagansett
Harry Ludlow, farmer at Fairview Farm, Bridgehampton
Justin Finney, chef at Highway Restaurant & Bar, East Hampton
Sam McCleland, chef at The Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor
Arie Pavlou, chef at Bridgehampton Inn Restaurant
Megan Huylo, chef at Amber Waves Farm Kitchen, Amagansett

Rick Kallaher, videographer
Colin Ambrose, organizer & chef at Estia’s Little Kitchen, Sag Harbor

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Food Lab: From the Kitchen @ Southampton College

Food Lab Conference

In June of 2015 I was in the audience at the Food Lab’s first general session, topics included marketing in the new food media, designing flavor forward healthy snacks and getting them to market, as well as a host of other relevant food forward thinking.

Southampton College

Southampton College

This years perspective of the Food Lab provided a different vantage point. While my assistant Kat Savoia and I were on campus for the first 2 full days of the event, we didn’t attend a single seminar but we did get an energizing educational experience on how to execute dinner service for 202 people utilizing a bag of tricks that I’ve been storing for years.

The menu was extensive because I felt it was important to consider a broad range of diets in the audience. While some would eat everything, others would have specific diets encouraging grains, or raw vegetables.

Buckwheat salad stuffed grilled avocado

Buckwheat salad stuffed grilled avocado

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6 Take Away Gems: from the Food Business School’s “Scale Up”

Vision, mission and values, the base line for success according to William Rosenzweig, Dean & Executive director, FBS (The Food Business School). Having just returned from a 3 day intensive workshop created by Mr. Rosenzweig, the author of “The Republic of Tea”, I will now summarize his approach to teaching non MBA’s how to bring new services and products into today’s food market place. Will’s first words “vision, mission, values” are ringing in my head now as I sit here thinking about where to take my newest venture, how to map out the plan and how to side step many of the potholes along the bumpy road to success. Read More »

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New Restaurant | Bedford & Co. in New York City

Bedford and Co in NYC

Our visit to Bedford & Co. on 40th Street, East of Lexington, Downtown side

If you spend your life riding in the bar-car, commuting from Manhattan to Darien you’ll probably make friends who share insights into the markets, opportunities others might miss. For me the opportunities that my professional travels afford are the occasional invitation to what we call in the business a “friends and family soft opening”. That’s a first night of service, intended to tighten the team, a shake down cruise if you will. My dinner this evening with our oldest child Lyman at Bedford & Co. on 40th Street between Lexington and Park was just one of those special occasions. I not only shared a perfect evening with my daughter, like those Wall Streeter’s in the bar-car, I also got a few good ideas from an old friend.

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Estia’s 25th Anniversary

East Hampton Star logo

Letter to the Editor: 08.20.15

by Colin Ambrose
Executive Chef, Estia’s Little Kitchen for The East Hampton Star

Estia’s 25th Anniversary

August 5, 2015

Dear Editor,

Wednesday morning’s sunrise at Old Beach Lane was magnificent, I can’t describe the feelings I have as I sit here and think about the journey that got me to this place. Upon arrival in East Hampton I was at a fork in the road. This community has often reminded me how lucky I am having taken the right turn. Read More »

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Last night was my 6th in a row, working the line @ The Lodge. Today, Sunday is a day off, well spent on the golf course and the beach. Family meal last night featured Chicken pot pie, a favorite on cool evenings. Served with a crisp romaine and red vinaigrette salad.

Recipe serves four


Crust made in the food processor:
2 cups AP flour
½ cup bacon grease
4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon salt

Bring together in the processor bowl and run until smooth
Pour the mixture into a bowl and roll into a ball (add more bacon fat if needed)
Wrap with plastic and repeat to make 2 balls, refrigerate for an hour. Read More »

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Food Lab : 101

Join me in celebrating the launch of our own “Food Lab” on Long Island’s East End. This morning, I slipped away from the Saturday breakfast crowd and garden tasks that generally occupy my time on weekend mornings in order to sit with about 75 other food entrepreneurs in a Stonybrook University auditorium on the Southampton campus.

The focus for Food Labs first two seminars was the food business, appropriately lead by 2 iconic NY Times columnists, Amanda Hesser and Florence Fabricant. I thought I was watching the American dream roll out in front of me.

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Grazin’ Angus Acres: A Visit to the Farm

AWA_Logo_Final_WebsiteI am a big fan of the NPR food radio series Stirring the Pot by Stefanie Sacks. On a recent trip, returning to Estia’s Little Kitchen from my Estia’s Back Porch location in Darien, CT, I happened to catch Stefanie’s show featuring her friend Dan Gibson and his Grazin’ Angus Acres farm. Yesterday, with Stefanie’s introduction, I was invited to visit the farm in Ghent, NY and spend time learning about what it means to be a restaurateur selling “Animal Welfare Approved” products.

As a child, traveling from state to state on vacation in the Ford wagon was always a family experience. My father was a grain merchant for Cargill. He ran shipping and milling operations for one of what we now refer to as the Big 3 (Cargill, IBP, Smithfield). Riding in the back of the wagon was my chosen spot. It kept me away from my sisters, allowed for a little extra room and provided a view of America from 3 large windows. Through those windows I watched American farmland, row after row. Read More »

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A Saturday Tasting at the Macari Vineyard

I was invited by the Macari Vineyard tasting room manager to present a meal to the Macari wine club in the main dining room of the Vineyard—just in time for the bud burst on Macari’s merlot vines outside the kitchen door.

Tasting Menu for the Macari Wine Club, 40 guests.
Saturday, May 9, 2015

Roasted Beet on Sweet Pea and Goat Cheese Coulis
Rabbit Pie
Venison Filet Au Poivre 
Sweet Potato Flan Read More »

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The North Fork Table & Inn

by Chef Colin Ambrose
Go to the original article on Beachouse Hamptons website

As an owner myself, I know that restaurants, like our most cherished relationships, are a labor of love. To succeed, they require more work and dedication than most anyone can imagine. Of the chef, the demand is nothing less than an intrinsic passion and understanding of food. From the management, service is the top priority. Now, just for fun, add-in operating your establishment on Long Island’s East End, home to the most demanding and discerning palettes anywhere! The North Fork Table & Inn, consistently ranked with New York’s top dining venues, is proof-positive that  these attributes can – and do exist – everyday. If you enjoy destination dining, a reservation at this iconic institution should be on your near term bucket list.

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Chicken Bolognese

We had a regular visitor at Estia in Amagansett during the summer of 1996. A cookbook author named Anna Teresa Callen, she was born in the Italian Mountains. In the Abruzzo region where she lived, hearty pastas are the choice for most of the year.  Anna was the most enthusiastic and animated guest at my tables. She appreciated our pastas. I quickly learned that this was more than a little Italian lady visiting my cafe and persuading her friends to come, too. Anna was “The Pasta Lady” for many. She knew a good deal more about cooking and, more specifically, Italian food than I did. She was an acclaimed cookbook author (Anna Teresa Callen’s Menus for Pasta) and a cooking teacher. Read More »

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JoJo Cakes

In October, I traveled to Northern Wisconsin with my old buddy Simbo. We fished the Manistique River that is on Michigan’s upper peninsula. We were fishing for steelhead and we got skunked. It was the first of a series of fishing trips intended to follow the Hemingway path, casting in the shadow of big Ernest. On our way home, we stopped for breakfast at a spot in Lena called JoJo’s. The town is perfectly positioned as we head back to the Green Bay airport from my Mom’s cabin in the North Woods. Read More »

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Holiday Quiche from a Catamaran’s Galley

Yesterday was our first day on the “rafts”… floating vacation homes comprised of two 42-foot Catamarans. We are currently on Nonsuch Bay off the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. It is a two-family outing. The Briggs family from Sag Harbor has three daughters the same ages as ours: 22, 19 and 16 years-old. There are ten passengers in all with the kids on one boat and the parents on the other.

This dish was created in an effort to provide an easy breakfast for all of us, served warm for the early risers but also accessible for those who returned to the raft at 3 a.m. Sixteen-year-olds Madeline and Whittier prepared the crust yesterday. Read More »

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Christmas Breakfast: Truffle Scrambled Eggs with Shallot and Bacon Hash Browns.

My children are haunted with our tradition of adding truffled cheese to our scrambled eggs on Christmas morning. They start dreaming about this breakfast as soon as November brings the cool air. Finally, the day has come. We enjoyed a meal this morning that clearly sets the stage for next year. And this post will be available when the time comes for them to do it on their own. Read More »

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December Salad

Reading the descriptions in Johnnie’s seed catalogue helps you learn about what makes-up a mixture of micro greens (brassica, red and green mustard and other cold tolerant greens). You also can find out how to keep the micro green alive in the cold (under cover or in a greenhouse). But I’m here to tell you all that reading does you absolutely no good until you try it. So in the last days of September, I ordered two packs of each of the following:

Early wonder beets
Spicy micro mix
Wildfire lettuce mix
Micro red Russian kale
Emperor spinach
Carmel spinach Read More »

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The Lauren Bacall Special

I was driving home from a farm in Sullivan County, New York this morning when I heard the sad news of Lauren Bacall’s passing.  My old pal Peter Stone was close with Lauren.  For years, they would have summer lunches together at Estia’s in Amagansett. Read More »
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