Loaves & Fishes Farm Series: An Interview with Sybille van Kempen

The Loaves & Fishes Farm Series. Photo by Conor Harrigan

After over 40 years of serving the Hamptons community, Sybille van Kempen, the owner of Loaves & Fishes Food Store in Bridgehampton, continues to find and share inspiration, while encouraging families to cook and gather around the table.

van Kempen, along with co-author chef Licia Kassim Householder, has recently released the second set of farm-to-table cookbooks in the Loaves & Fishes Farm Series – highlighting the seasons and harvest on the East End.

Following the release of her summer collection, the latest to be released in the series celebrates the autumn bounty, with each month representing a different family-run East End farm. van Kempen and Householder visit Halsey Farm & Nursery in Water Mill for September, The Milk Pail & Halsey Orchards in Water Mill for October, and Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton for November. The books highlight farm-fresh ingredients with a close look at the generations of farmers, coupled with eye-catching photography by Conor Harrigan.

Winter squash cheesecake. Photo by Conor Harrigan

Fall dishes include chicken apple curry, vegan cauliflower soup, duck pear stew, farmhouse cheddar chive biscuits, and the Mecox Bay Dairy stuffing (click for recipe). Delectable desserts include the winter squash cheesecake, sweet potato pie with maple whipped cream, pumpkin pie with brown sugar meringue, and so much more. 

We caught up with van Kempen to learn more.

What inspired you to create this series of cookbooks?

I was inspired last spring when the farmers began their first harvest of the season. Walking through the fields with them and feeling their hidden passion, dedication, and resolve was life changing – a message I needed to share through these books.

How did you come up with the idea to highlight local family farms?

I was so aware of my weekly menu planning at Loaves & Fishes, and how that is affected by the local farmers and their ingredients. This is something I have done organically forever, yet I never considered sharing this age-old process with the cooking community until I walked through the fields last spring.

I am inspired by the passion I have been fortunate to see first hand from our farm families. I hope that by sharing these farm adventures and our recipes, our customers will find their own lives enriched. The joy of shopping for the best and freshest seasonal ingredients at the farm is unforgettable; meeting the farmers is life changing.

Turkey empanadas. Photo by Conor Harrigan

Can you tell us a little about the process that went into creating these books?

My team of four includes my co-author Licia Kassim Householder, my photographer Conor Harrigan, my graphic designer María Lavezzo, and myself. We have been working together on projects for several years now – including the Bridgehampton Inn and Restaurant “Look + Cook Book” that came out last summer – and we embrace an efficient and creative working relationship.

Once we decide on the farm to feature — many of them are nearby Loaves & Fishes — we visit with the farmers to gather ideas and start photographing for the book. The recipes are inspired by the farm ingredients and the creative talents of my co-author, Licia Kassim Householder. She has been working with me as pastry chef for several years now. Her experience and skills are vast. We drive each other to create something new and special together.

Bacon clam dip. Photo by Conor Harrigan

What are a few of your favorite recipes from the books going into the holiday season?

Turkey Empanadas are a great way to use up any poultry or meat leftovers and are proven crowd pleasers.

Bacon Clam Dip is another very popular recipe that I recommend dipping with your favorite salted potato chips. I serve this at almost every get-together, it is a local favorite.

Winter Squash Cheesecake. I have a soft spot for cheesecake and have tasted many. This one is very similar in texture to the one my mother used to make, and since I adore baked squash of all kinds, creamy and oh-so-flavorful, it’s a match made in heaven.

The collection of three linen-wrapped hard cover books retails for $50 at LoavesandFishes.us. The summer trio is also available and the upcoming winter series is available for pre-order.

Click here for van Kempen and Householder’s recipe for Mecox Bay Dairy Stuffing.


Jessica Mackin-Cipro


Jessica Mackin-Cipro is an editor and writer from the East End of Long Island. She has won numerous NYPA and PCLI awards for journalism and social media. She was previously the Executive Editor of The Independent Newspaper.

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