If you’ve stumbled upon the new line of Pete’s Endless Summer sauces, rubs and marinades—say the fresh chimichurri at a farm- ers market or a bottle of Sweet ‘n’ Sticky BBQ Sauce, you’ve tasted the results of an intuitive palate polished by 20 years of catering East End parties.
That palate belonging to Peter Ambrose wakened in his grand- mothers’ kitchens—one Lithuanian, one Italian, and “inherit- ing the cooking gene for sure,” he started cooking at age 15. This spring, 43-year-old Ambrose (above) launched “Endless Summer,” inspired by a long career as chef for the Seafood Shop and its Food for Forks catering division, as well as boyhood memories of the summer flavors of beach cookouts. “These are flavors that have worked for us over the years,” says Ambrose, including tastes found at benefit fund-raisers like this year’s Peconic Land Trust Farm and Fields event, the Retreat in East Hampton, Ellen’s Run in Southampton or Phoenix House in Wainscott.
“This chicken is so good, I ate the skin and I never do that,” said a Labor Day guest tasting chicken brushed with Sweet ‘n’ Sticky and smoked in my stove-top smoker. Grillin’ Time Mari- nade, which Ambrose first concocted 20 years ago for vegeta- bles, won raves on smoked bluefish. The Chipotle Ketchup has little salt, no corn syrup and plenty of local, in-season tomatoes. Like the sauce and marinade, it is bottled by Jeri Woodhouse’s A Taste of the North Fork, the custom food-processing facility in Cutchogue. The fresh sauces—chimichurri, roasted fresh to- mato salsa and wasabi aioli—are sold at the Montauk, Amagan- sett, East Hampton and Shelter Island farmers markets, and are intended to accompany entrées. Instead my guests dove into them as dips, zeroing in on the wasabi. Pete’s line also includes seasonal tomato/rhubarb chutney, Hellish Relish for hot dogs, apricot-chipotle barbecue sauce, three grilling rubs and a lime agave mojito cocktail mix.
Ambrose, a Sag Harbor native (his grandfather built and ran Three Mile Harbor Inn for 40 years), is filled with dreams. Perhaps he’ll sell at a couple of “fun markets” in Brooklyn, perhaps freeze chimichurri (which grays under processing) to keep “its bright-green vibrant look,” and so extend an Endless Summer into February.