Every year, Edible magazines all over the United States announce Local Hero Awards to honor locals who live what this magazine celebrates: going to work every day with the goal of providing good food and drink for our tables. The awards were created by Edible Communities, Edible East End’s parent, and the winners are revealed at the annual Edible publishers meeting each January.
Voting took place online last year, with the final votes tallied by December 3.
On the East End, readers were encouraged to pick—from the many out there—artisans, bakers, cooks and farmers who deserved a little notice. (And when you go to ediblecommunities.com/heroes, you’ll discover how hard it is to pick just one.) Nearly all the winners who received a call said they were surprised and touched by the recognition of their hard work. Bartenders Bernadette Buckley and Courtney Brady took home the Beverage Artisan distinction for their work at the Old Mill Inn in Mattituck, although they are no longer at that restaurant that has developed a steady following for its mixologists in the last few years. And the North Fork Animal Welfare League received the Nonprofit category distinction. Voters picked clear winners in three other categories: Farm, Food Artisan and Chef.
Paulette Satur (above, right) and her husband, Eberhard Müller, have been tilling the soil at their Alvah’s Lane farm in Cutchogue since 1997. Müller at the time was the chef at Bayard in Manhattan. Satur, the daughter of a Central Pennsylvania farmer, stayed home to provision the restaurant. It wasn’t long before Müller felt the lure of the land and started farming full time as well. For this couple, farming full time also means year round. They have started growing in Florida in the winter, to pay the bills, and importantly, for Satur, to provide their employees with full-time jobs.
About being voted a local hero, Satur says, “Oh, wow, that is incredible, I could cry; we work so hard.”
If there can be a clear winner when there’s a tie, then this category had it. Jeri Woodhouse’s specialty food business, A Taste of the North Fork, was neck and neck with Rosemary Dougherty Batcheller’s Village Cheese Shop on Love Lane in Mattituck. “Wow, that’s absolutely fabulous,” says Woodhouse (above, right). “I’m so glad people recognize how important it is to make quality food from fresh local ingredients.” She was then off to start pickling. A Taste of the North Fork started as a cottage business, in Woodhouse’s Orient home, specializing in jams and jellies. She now runs a large commercial kitchen where she not only turns the produce of the local farms into, you name it, pestos, pickles and sauces, under her own label, she also has the facilities and the staff to help other local food entrepreneurs get their own start.
The cheese shop opened in Mattituck in 2001 as the little sister of the Southampton stalwart of the same name. That shop has been sold and Batcheller (above, left) says she’s now free to get back to her roots providing the freshest cheese. A good portion of her selection comes from small dairies, which she says are far more numerous than a decade ago. “I can’t keep up with the small dairies that are opening up,” she says, adding she used to be able to follow a young dairy as it matured. “And that’s just the East Coast.”
Brady Duhame (opposite page, far left), a newcomer to the East End, was chosen as a local hero in the Chef category. Duhame, a veteran of the New York City restaurants Picholine, Union Prime and Robert, traveled east last spring to check out a position at the Old Mill Inn on the Mattituck Inlet. “I fell in love once I turned that corner and saw that inlet,” he says. “To me it’s the epitome of a hometown restaurant. You can’t get any more local.”
So that should fit in well with his seasonal food, which Duhame says will feature asparagus during asparagus season, fresh duck eggs and cauliflower in the fall, among many other delicacies. “I worked at some really high-end places,” he says, “and I haven’t gotten better seafood than I’ve got from Southold Fish Market.