One Friday afternoon this June, Campagne House owner Don Schiavetta rode his bicycle over to what is now known as Detective Brian Simonsen Way in Jamesport from his boat docked in Meetinghouse Creek. Schiavetta was looking to lunch at one of his favorite local spots, the former Bay Breeze Bistro turned chophouse, but what he found was an opportunity to open a new restaurant alongside growing celebrity chef, Allison Fasano, within David and Donna Perrin’s eight-room inn on the Peconic Bay. The Perrins also own and operate the Cedar House on Sound bed and breakfast in Mattituck.
“I really wanted to be in the space, but we decided we weren’t going to be the ones doing it again because between running Cedar House as one business and the inn as a second business, the restaurant was a third business, and it was getting too tiring and overwhelming with two young kids,” said Donna Perrin, adding she fielded a number of offers from folks outside the restaurant industry before meeting Schiavetta and Fasano. A lease was signed two weeks after that. “Don was really the angel I was praying on. It was definitely a weight lifted, but it’s also really exciting.”
Perhaps most exciting is the East End’s introduction to Fasano, whose culinary resume is second only to her sense of humor. One of the first female chefs on Long Island to garner three stars, as she did at Harley’s in Farmingdale, Fasano has worked for Joe and Lidia Bastianich at Del Posto and as Bobby Flay’s sous chef at GATO.
She faced down her mentor on “Beating Bobby Flay” and appeared on “Chopped” and “Restaurant Hunters,” and she will also be featured on another Food Network TV show this month but couldn’t disclose details because of a non-disclosure agreement.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a comedian,” said Fasano, who was first inspired to get into the kitchen at 11 years old by watching Rachael Ray on television. “Now I just cook and tell jokes for free.”
One thing that isn’t a joke is Fasano’s menu, which she describes as being “nonna-style,” complete with hand-made pasta and other flavorful feel-good fare. “It’s bold with layers of flavor,” she said of her cooking. “It’s food that gives you a hug on the inside. Right now, we’ve got a refreshing summer seasonal menu I’ll change in September, but even the pasta isn’t too heavy for summer. It has a saffron broth, crab, a little pop of butter, anchovy bread crumbs, and lemon zest.”
Fasano’s penchant for citrus, evident not only in her summer pasta dish, but watermelon crab gazpacho blending watermelon, tomato, and basil with crab brunoise, zucchini, lime, and jalapeño, as well as a zucchini salad with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, shaved parmesan, fresh mint, and walnuts, comes from her time studying in Southern Italy, but marinating her surf-and-turf burger meat? That’s straight Brooklyn, where Fasano was born and raised.
The 29-year-old chef, who loves Celine Dion almost as much as her “chorkie,” Coco, said she is currently enjoying winning over the folks dining at Salt & Sea Bistro one table at a time. “I think people see my resume — that I’ve done a lot of fine dining, worked with a lot of celebrity chefs, and done TV shows — and they don’t expect me to be so elbows on the table,” said Fasano. “I like to run the food. People get so excited.”