Haute Spot with Keith Davis of the Golden PearCooking Up Good Times WITH KEITH DAVIS OF THE GOLDEN PEAR
Starting with the best ingredients is crucial in making the very tastiest food and drink, but there’s more to it than that, says award-winning restaurateur Keith Davis. There’s also love.
Family is just as important to the Golden Pear and Keith’s Nervous Breakdown owner’s success as the food and beverages his businesses offer. That’s why he cherishes his time at home with his wife, Anne, their now grown children—Sarah, Emily and Keith—and their friends and loved ones.
“Home is a place of refuge, of love, and sharing with your family and friends,” he says. “It’s essential for a well-rounded, balanced and stable life.”
It’s no surprise that the kitchen is the heart of his house. The restaurateur and his wife, Anne, a pastry chef, spend many hours there—pouring over cookbooks, trying out new recipes, whipping up hors d’oeuvres for their frequent golf or football viewing parties, or exploring novel adult beverage mixers.
“We prepare all kinds of delicious food and cocktails for gustatory pleasure,” he says, adding that he and his wife make the most of what they’ve got at their home in Hampton Bays. “We don’t have a large kitchen, but it’s a special place for us where we love to cook great meals.”
Though he’s no slouch in the kitchen, Keith credits his spouse, whom he met 30 years ago when she came in to apply for the job of pastry chef at his flagship Southampton Village Golden Pear, as the master of that particular domain. An “amazing cook who always sources the best of everything,” her passion for preparing great food still wows him, he says.
The two enjoy cooking together, and their talents are complementary. For example, Keith says he makes a mean meat sauce and Anne’s meatballs are out of this world. And though they love to experiment, the culinary pair are devotees of the basics, he adds. His favorites come from the seminal “Culinary Institute of America Cookbook,” as well as CIA’s textbooks on “Grilling” and “Breakfast & Brunches.” Hers from “all of Ina’s [referring to East Hampton’s own Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten] cookbooks, and ‘The Joy of Cooking,’ which every kitchen should have,” he reports.
Having the right tools in the kitchen is also important, Keith says. His staples include a white Le Creuset Dutch oven and a good black cast-iron pan.
“You can cook pretty much anything in those two things,” he says. Cook sauces, soups, stews, and “fall-off-the-bone chicken,” in the Dutch oven and pull out the cast-iron skillet for searing in the juices and flavor for bacon, sausages, burgers, and steak au poivre. “And don’t forget to season,” he charges, adding that home cooks needn’t fear healthy doses of salt, pepper and fresh herbs where needed.
Of course every good meal should have an equally delicious beverage, he says. Which is why Keith and Anne derive just as much pleasure concocting craft cocktails as they do cooking up tasty treats for friends and family. Fresh juices, premium spirits, and unique flavors and essences can create delicious impact. And they turn any gathering up a notch or two, according to Keith.
“Hospitality is a state of mind,” he says. “It’s filled with great food and drink, family, friends and fun. That’s exactly the kind of place I want my home to be.”