A new show on discovery+ is exploring what’s it like for restaurant employees to work and live together during a busy summer in the Hamptons.
“Serving The Hamptons” follows the crew at 75 Main, a Southampton hotspot that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to some of the Hamptons’ most elite customers. Owned and run by Zach Erdem, the restaurant serves classic American fare and incorporates local ingredients sourced from farmers in the Hamptons.
“75 Main is the center of the action, you’re not gonna miss this place,” said Erdem.
“Serving the Hamptons” showcases 75 Main’s summer of 2021, highlighting the lives of Erdem and his staff as they work together. Because the Hamptons is a popular summer destination, they have to make the most of their time and keep the restaurant running at full capacity.
“The Hamptons is a pretty expensive area, and it’s hard for people to come here to even go to restaurants. There are not [many] hotels here, the Hamptons is very exclusive — you have to have money to come here, your weekend could cost $5,000,” said Erdem. “I’ve seen restaurant chains come here and fail. Being here locally and knowing the market, knowing the little things, makes it very different.”
Throughout the course of the show, Erdem’s staff lives together in a house in the Hamptons, a common practice for those working in that area because of how difficult and time-consuming it can be to commute to the Hamptons for such a short period of the year. Erdem and his manager Victoria Hilton try to stay on top of their staff while they live together, break the rules and make the most of the summer.
“You find a nice house and bring people in from around the country. You put all of these people together, what can you expect from people?” said Erdem. “As much as I put the rules up, someone will erase all the rules. How can you control it when you work 20 hours a day?”
In “Serving the Hamptons,” viewers will meet the entire staff, including chef Brogan Wu and VIP Hostess Samantha Critchon. Wu brings years of knowledge from cooking school and catering to the restaurant while Critchon taps into her hospitality skills from working in a restaurant in Nassau County to the 75 Main experience, but they both recognize how different the Hamptons is compared to other markets.
“The clientele [is very different]. In the Hamptons, these people in the 1%, the clientele is top tier at 75 Main. They seek higher treatment,” said Critchon.
“The Hamptons is so different. I don’t like pretentious food, I like making simple food that I can twist and elevate,” said Wu. “I’m used to cooking for people like me, cooking for college-aged students — I always keep my style relatable to the average person. But in the Hamptons, in their environment where they are super wealthy and have restrictions and requirements, it’s a different type of cuisine.”
Both Wu and Critchon agree that it was the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to take part in “Serving The Hamptons.” While they spend their days in different parts of the restaurant, at the end of their shifts, Wu and Critchon find themselves thrust into the company of their coworkers, and plenty of partying, drama and excitement ensued.
“I had my reservations. The opportunity to cook at 75 Main was a no-brainer, I knew I wanted to do that. The element of living with other people in a house was intimidating,” said Wu. “I definitely prefer the heat in the kitchen than in the house, I’m not into drama. I love alone time, I love cooking, I love the back of the [restaurant], that came with its own set of challenges, but the most challenging part of the summer was when I wasn’t working.”
“There was never a dull moment this summer,” said Critchon. “There is very little time for alone time when you are living with coworkers but also working with them, there’s a blurred line between personal and professional life. Viewers going to be very intrigued.”
Though both Wu and Crithon were hanging out with the rest of the staff nearly 24/7, they agree that their summer together definitely wasn’t boring and that the experience did bring everyone closer together.
“This was the best summer of all my years of living. I met so many amazing and inspiring people and worked for an inspiring person who surrounds himself with a-listers. This summer was so mind-blowingly enjoyable,” said Critchon.
“I did a pretty good job of maintaining my sanity and my own space, I’m friendly and like being with other people, but I need to decompress. I struggled initially with being surrounded when they are in the mindset of go go go, party, but everything is good in moderation,” said Wu. “Being with my coworkers all the time was interesting, they are a good group of people. I never had a roommate in college, I’m so used to being by myself, so it was a learning and growing experience. It brought everyone closer together, had I not been forced to live with each other I wouldn’t have built the relationships I did.”
For those who tune in, the team at 75 Main hopes that viewers can learn more about the ins and outs of running a restaurant while enjoying the interactions that the staff has when they are off the clock.
“We’re showing you the Hamptons, showing my personal journey and where I came from,” said Erdem. “In the Hamptons, you only have a couple of months. You have to have a strong team. I am proud of my team. During COVID time, we killed it. I never expected it but while the world was crying, we were really busy.”
“I hope [viewers] are able to enjoy the show and relate to us,” said Critchon.
“I work in the kitchen and can only speak to that element, but I hope that everyone sees how hard [we] work to get the food out and make it enjoyable,” said Wu. “Behind all of the big mansions and luxury vehicles, there are hard-working people that work tirelessly to make it all happen. Not everyone here is living a luxurious lifestyle. It’s a beautiful place to be, but there’s more than meets the eye.”
“Serving the Hamptons” is available on discovery+ on April 7.