Since its opening ten years ago, The Surf Lodge has made a lot of waves in Montauk—becoming synonymous with “Summer at The End” from the day it first opened its doors. Now, a decade later, however, The Surf Lodge is making waves once again, with two exciting announcements: First, this season, they’re welcoming Angela Bazan to their kitchen, as the Lodge’s new chef de cuisine; and second, starting this summer, its owner Jayma Cardoso has pledged to go plastic-free.
“I believe that each year the Surf Lodge evolves and we take more responsibility to educate ourselves and connect people.” says Cardoso. “This year, and for years to come, the Surf Lodge is committed to supporting sustainable, environmentally friendly products and services.”
What exactly does that mean? For starters, that the Surf Lodge will be eliminating all plastic drinking straws, cups, and bottles, and replacing them with new custom drinkware made from Ingeo™ biopolymer, a PLA resin derived from plants that is 100% compostable, completely plastic free, and created specifically for the Surf Lodge.
“Going plastic-free is the right thing to do, not only for the planet, but it makes the rosé all day mantra safer for our oceans,” says Cardoso, “plus it’s the best vessel to enjoy The Palm rosé responsibly.”
Chef Angela Bazan agrees. Born in Corona, Queens, Bazan studied at the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and, before arriving in Montauk, worked throughout New York City with other notable chefs. Still, she’s most excited now to discover all the East End has to offer.
“With joining the Surf Lodge team, I am looking forward to building a relationship with local farmers and purveyors.” says Bazan. “I’m currently sourcing my fish from Gosman’s and micro-greens from Good Water Farms, and I know each fresh and flavorful dish will reflect their hard work.”
We spoke with chef Bazan about her experience so far at Surf Lodge, her take on its pledge to go plastic-free, her favorite restaurants in and around Montauk, and more. Read on to see what she said.
Edible East End: Congratulations on your new position as chef de cuisine at Surf Lodge! How has your transition from Manhattan to Montauk been? Has anything been surprising?
Angela Bazan: Kitchens in the city usually are in the back, not far from an alley or hidden away in the basement, but in Montauk I’m cooking to a beautiful pond and I am able to see the sunset on the ocean. It’s a lot less stressful, and everyone here seems to remain so relaxed and nice even through the grind. It’s been a surprisingly different vibe.
EEE: We love that you’re already sourcing your fish from Gosman’s and micro-greens from Good Water Farms. Are there any other local farmers or producers you’re looking forward to working with?
AB: Yes, there are other farmers I am looking to build a relationship with this summer, such as Bhumi Farms, that focus on organic produce in order to bring us closer to the land. I love that idea and aim for my dishes to do the same.
EEE: When you’re not working, where do you like to eat out in Montauk (or elsewhere on the East End)?
AB: After many recommendations, I really enjoyed my experience at Tacombi and will look forward to visiting their NYC location when back in the city. Their Corn Esquites cup is a must have. It’s best for dessert to hit up Gig Shack for a slice of Key Lime Pie. I’m still discovering Montauk and look forward to diving into the culinary scene on the East End.
EEE: Surf Lodge recently announced that it’s going completely plastic-free. As a chef, what do you think about this great push towards sustainability?
AB: It is necessary to be more environmentally friendly, especially in a kitchen where you go through so much! It all benefits the same goal: fresh food comes from good land, so lets take care of it!
EEE: Now, let’s talk about the good stuff—the food! What do you think distinguishes the food you prepare at Surf Lodge from other local restaurants?
AB: The distinguishing factor is not only the fresh focused food, but also the team focused kitchen environment it comes from. In the city, we really have to work together to get through those busy nights. Also, coming from Queens, NY, I am influenced by the constant exposure to diverse cuisines, Mediterranean, Asian and Latino techniques, and would love to see its influence on my cooking here.
EEE: Do you have a favorite dish on the menu?
AB: One of the best fish to try here in Montauk is the fluke, because you can get it daily. You can taste the freshness and pairing it with a mango vinaigrette and some local micro greens we sampled at GoodWater farms makes me forget I’m still in New York.
EEE: Is there any local ingredient you’re especially excited to be working with?
AB: Tomatoes. In the city you sometimes have to settle for the bland bodega tomato that just doesn’t compare to a ripe organic tomato picked locally.
EEE: And finally, we have to ask: Do you think the East End will get to “keep” you? Do you foresee continuing to work out here in the future?
AB: I am always game for a good opportunity so we’ll see where this summer takes us, but I definitely think I am open to new relationships on either end of the island.