Creamy Crab Combo
Putting a local spin on butternut squash soup
By Pam George | Photographs by Scott Nathan
When Max Sopinskyy was growing up in Ukraine, meals were made at home from locally sourced ingredients. “We didn’t go to restaurants for lunches or dinners,” says the native of a small village near the Black Sea. “My mom and grandmom would cook three meals a day for me and my younger brother — every day.”
The family ate seasonal fruit and vegetables from their garden. For a time, they also raised chickens. “I knew how to grow vegetables and how to debone fish or chicken, because everybody around me knew how to do it,” he notes. “I never dreamed about cooking as a career. It was just an everyday activity.”
That changed in 2005 when he came to the United States and got a job as a dishwasher at Fins Fish House & Raw Bar in Rehoboth. Sopinskyy worked his way up the culinary ladder, from line cook to chef. “I was a quick learner in the kitchen,” he says. “I saw what other cooks or chefs were doing.” He also discovered how much he enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds. “I like being a team player.”
That’s Right, Hon!
Baltimore native Denise Vansant is serious about crab cakes
By Pam George | Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the August 2017 issue
When Denise Vansant and her husband, Joe, moved to the beach full time in 2000, she was disappointed that she couldn’t find a crab cake that lived up to her standards. Not only did Vansant grow up in Baltimore — where crab cakes are a signature dish — but she was also raised in fine-dining restaurants.
Her father owned two: The Tail of the Fox in Timonium and The Golden Bull in Ocean City, Md. She often accompanied him on visits to the fishmonger to find the freshest products. In the 1930s, her grandparents owned one of the first diners in Cape May, N.J. Her uncle, born in France, was a chef.
Vansant has put her Baltimore background and her culinary know-how to good use at the Crab Cake Cook-Off, a highlight of the University of Delaware’s Coast Day festivities. She’s won two second-place awards, and will go for the gold again on Oct. 1 when the event returns to UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. She could also enter the Seafood Chowder Challenge, which targets professional chefs and cooks. A former history teacher, Vansant now owns Cave Girl at the Beach, which prepares seasonal, local and organic foods-to-go, which are available at the Rehoboth Beach Farmers’ Market.
Giving Steak an Added Sizzle
Chimichurri sauce enlivens a grilling favorite
Seafood is a natural menu choice at the beach. But in Jonathan Spivak’s experience, coastal diners are just as interested in the unusual as the expected. He should know. The restaurant veteran is the former owner of Sedona in Bethany Beach, Fusion in Rehoboth Beach and Salt Air, which is located in Fusion’s Wilmington Avenue space.
Even as early as 1993, the year Sedona opened, he served wild game. And many coastal diners appreciate a juicy steak, even if they’re steps from the ocean.
Spivak, who lives near Bethany Beach in the Salt Pond community, is now the owner of Home on Your Range, which provides customized dinner parties, typically for six to 12 people. One of his favorite dishes to prepare is grilled New York steak with chimichurri sauce, which he often serves family style. The fresh green herbs are a vivid addition, and you can buy them from local vendors at farmers markets. The uncooked sauce’s lemon, vinegar and garlic create a bright note that’s perfect for spring. Serve it with red potatoes and carrots for an additional pop of color.
It’s not surprising that Spivak would create a pretty plate. He’s also an abstract artist, a passion that he pursued after being successfully treated for stage 3 lymphoma. (He sold Salt Air in 2011 due to his illness.)
Now that it’s time for everyone to dust off their grills, add this dish to your Memorial Day menu. Much of the prep is done before guests arrive.
The chimichurri sauce is also good with lamb, pork, chicken and, for die-hard pescatarians, a meaty fish, such as halibut.