Christopher StewartChristopher Stewart: Real Estate, Chef and Surfer Extroardinare
Galavante: The Hamptons are the idyllic playground of the rich and famous, but you get to live here all year round.
Chris: My family has been out here since the 1940s, and I spent time here as a kid in the summer, so it seemed natural. Before moving here permanently, I went to cooking school in Thailand, and I worked as a chef all over the country and Caribbean. With the impending birth of my son, I moved to the Hamptons 9 years ago.
Galavante: How did you get into Real Estate?
Chris: When I first got to the Hamptons, my first jobs were catering and private chefing. I worked some cool events, including P.Diddy’s White Party one year. I had a lot of free time though during the day, and I got my real estate license to fill in the gap. My job and family history were a nice segue into Hamptons real estate. I have been working full time at Prudential Douglas Elliman for 6 years.
Galavante: In Real Estate, you must meet some interesting characters. Do you work with renters or buyers?
Chris: I work with both; renters primarily from the months of January to May, then buyers all year round. I have a diverse set of clients, from those who buy and sell real estate and become long-term relationships, to those who live in Manhattan and want a weekend/summer house.
Galavante: How is the real estate market this year?
Chris: Continuing to improve. There are a lot of good values on the market, and it’s become more of a science this year, supported by comps versus pre-2009 where there wasn’t logic to why houses sold for their prices.
Galavante: It sounds like this is going to be a great season to come out to the Hamptons. Is it too late to rent for the season?
Chris: It’s never too late to rent. Renting a house for a week up to the whole summer provides you with the most well-rounded experience in the Hamptons. You can cook out and entertain at home while also experiencing the restaurants and summer nightlife when you have you own place.
Galavante: As someone who lives here all year round, where do the locals hang out?
Chris: As a trained chef, I appreciate the Hamptons restaurants. I’ve been to all the big places, but my favorites for laid back dinners are Fresno in town, West Lake Clam & Chowder House in Montauk, Harvest when I go out to dinner with a large group to do family style meals and the Meeting House and Rowdy Hall when I bring my son JB to dinner. I also like to go to La Superica in Sag Harbor for Mexican. For music, the Talk House is open all year round.
Galavante: Where do you go for the best lobster rolls?
Chris: The local place is what we refer to as the “Fish Farm”. The Fish Farm is an aquaculture facility/seafood shop/cafe in the Promised Land area of Amagansett away from the hub-bub of town. It has some of the best Lobster Rolls, and is definitely one of the most unique dining experiences. Duryea’s also has a great Lobster roll where they toast the bun with clarified butter and overflowing lobster salad.
Galavante: Where do you go for a special occasion dinner?
Chris: I normally start out at the Palm’s old school bar for martinis with friends. Afterwards, I head over to the 1770 House for a dinner that’s focused on seasonal ingredients and inventive cooking. A new place that I’ve really enjoyed is the Living Room, which has eclectic Swedish cuisine and some of the most gracious service in the Hamptons.
Galavante: Eating is quite the sport in the Hamptons. You mentioned you also surf.
Chris: Indeed I do. Ditch Plains in Montauk is a good beginner wave and is consequently the most crowded. There are several local operations that provide surf lessons, from business' like Air Speed Surf Shop to private guys you can find at the beach. Further west Flying Point is another beach where you find lessons and beginners testing the waters.
Galavante: So where do surfers, and surfer wannabes hang out after a day at the beach?
Chris: There’s of course Surf Lodge for free music and beautiful people or places like Runaways, Liars Saloon and the Montauket for sandy feet and cold drinks.
Galavante: Any chance you’ll be there this summer?
Chris: You bet.