Inside Chef Scott Jagr’s Fridge

The MTK Tavern chef’s refrigerator tells all.

Anything in there really old or of unknown origins?  White clam sauce from Christmas Eve.  

Item that would impress a foodie (Siberian caviar, for example?) Some truffle honey I bought at a farmers’ market in Rhode Island. 

What could you serve for dinner from your current contents if, say, a long lost relative showed up unexpectedly? Easy—there’s a pot of tomato sauce with meatballs and sausage leftover from my mother-in-law’s birthday. BTW, my wife is the Meatball Monger—you have to be at the table to eat them and are not allowed to pick them out of the pot. 

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Random/unusual items in the door shelf? Sweet pickled ginger for seared tuna or sushi—we roll our own. My kids (Scott, 23; Cassidy, 21) are best at it. We buy the fish from DeCicco  Family Marketsin Brewster.

Rate your fridge from 1 (an ungodly mess) to 10 (I may have OCD). Eight. My wife is very neat—but I clean the fridge. 

Any embarrassing fake foods, i.e., Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup or Velveeta, etc? FRITO-LAY French Onion Dip. Not mine, I swear—my daughter’s. 

Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, etc? No; it’s too expensive. 

Anything not allowed in your fridge? The only way you’ll find soda in our fridge is if guests bring it.  

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How’s the meat situation?  We usually have chicken because my daughter doesn’t eat red meat—no ethical/health concerns here so much as she just doesn’t like it. The problem for the rest of us is we have to eat chicken all the time. Even if I bring home steak I have to cook chicken for her.  

Regardless of meat type, when the weather gets warm, we’ll cook it on a Charmglow stainless-steel grill that has a rotisserie. I also have a smoker out back for pork loins, pork butts, briskets, and 15- to 20-lb wild turkeys, which I hunt out back. I live in Stormville, New York, and there’s 875 acres behind me with turkey and deer. Two years ago, we had a moose but you can’t shoot a moose in New York State.   

Your family isn’t just a pack of carnivores right? No, there’s plenty of produce—celery, carrots, onions, chives, green cabbage, romaine, string beans, and lots of garlic. And no, we don’t have a vampire problem; only coyotes. They make noise at night like a bunch of kids partying in the woods. 

How’s the dairy situation?  Butter, cream cheese, and, if I do the shopping, whole milk. If it’s my wife, then you’ll find 2-percent milk. Whoever picks it up then that’s what everyone else drinks. I won’t cook with low-fat dairy—not the same outcome. 

Any non-food items in there?  Milk of Magnesia. 

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Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32° F and below. I have homemade shrimp stock for when I make risotto and chicken carcasses to make chicken stock. There’s no ice cream now, but we usually have a Ben & Jerry’s, most likely Cherry Garcia.  

On top of the fridge? Baskets with Freihofer’s whole wheat, Mission tortillas, Zurro’s bastone loaf. There’s an Ace Endico wholesaler in Brewster that happens to have a retail shop where I buy the Zurro’s. It’s always fresher there than in the supermarkets.  

Drinks? Bottled water (whatever brand is on sale), Wyler’s Light Iced Tea, and, in my son’s college mini-fridge in the garage, Bud cans. Very old-school.      

I hear there’s a basement freezer. I hunt with my nephews, so often the meat ends up here. Right now, though, there’s frozen burgers, hot dogs, and some venison my friend gave me.      

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