A new culinary venture is bringing an old-world cooking method to private parties and wineries across the North Fork.
Local chefs Jonathan Shearman and Max Mohrmann came up with the idea to create their own wood-fired private dining and catering business while commuting to gigs for Rolling in Dough, a mobile catering and brick oven pizza truck, and sister company to 1943 Pizza Bar.
Their new venture, Fyr and Salt, offers customers locally sourced meals that are cooked in front of them over open flames.
“Cooking over fire is so nostalgic,” explained Mohrmann. “I think a lot of people grew up camping and making s’mores. Between the smell and the look, it attracts people to come over, watch, talk and hang out.”
The new business has already begun bringing its Arrosticini grill to pop-up events around the North Fork, serving coal-fired, Italian-street-food-styled skewers of lamb, pork belly, octopus, vegetables, and more. By springtime, the chefs anticipate on serving guests from a full mobile wood-fired kitchen, complete with a brick oven.
Over the last decade, food trucks and pop-ups have gained popularity, challenging the traditional restaurant format. Shearman, who had been working as a chef at 1943 Pizza Bar and Rolling in Dough for over 8 years, says he and his partner are looking to venture into new culinary territory with Fyr and Salt.
“We didn’t want to do the traditional restaurant any longer either,” explained Shearman. “With this kind of private dining experience, we feel we can really capture the seasonality of local ingredients and provide people with a really memorable experience.”
With personal connections to farms like 8 Hands Farm and Deep Roots, Shearman and Mohrmann incorporate local, seasonal ingredients into their dishes. Operating on a party-to-party basis, they benefit from the flexibility that comes with serving on a smaller scale.
“We’ve both been in the restaurant business for so long, we see how hard it is to truly be sustainable and use produce from the farm,” said Shearman. “It’s not as cost-effective in large format, or the volume doesn’t always align.”
In addition to partnering with local farms, the chefs plan on growing their own ingredients. “We’ve been talking about potentially keeping bees and farming ourselves,” said Shearman.
Customers of Fyr and Salt can choose between three customizable dining styles: an aperitivo style that features smaller plates, a family style for buffets and communal dishes, and a chef’s tasting, which offers a multi-course meal. For the dessert course, Fyr and Salt partners with North Fork Baker, who also happens to be Shearman’s wife.
“We have sample menus that people will look at once they book with us, but things will change based on what looks good,” Mohrmann explained. “The idea is that we can really communicate and have a dialogue with the client,” added Shearman.
Looking towards the future, the chefs plan on continuing to offer pop-ups at local vineyards as well as securing a permanent location of their own. “We want to eventually have our own property where we have an event space, raise our own fruits and vegetables, and host events,” said Mohrmann.
Fyr and Salt’s next pop-up is a Valentine’s Day-themed dinner with wine pairings at Macari Vineyards on Saturday, February 11th, and Sunday, February 12th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to macariwines.com/events.