Head Chef Danny Gao of 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge is pairing up with Fink’s Country Farm at Long Island’s ultimate foodie event, Island to Table, Aug. 26, in Patchogue. The cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m. and there are still some tickets left. Click here to secure your place at the table.

by Emily Mancini

Like a lot of Long Islanders, Danny Gao grew up by the water.

But this 32-year-old spent his childhood fishing in the East China Sea, near his hometown of Fuzhou, China. With daily access to the freshest catch, Gao’s palate developed around the complexities of flavor, texture and freshness of seafood.

After moving to the United States at age 18, Gao spent a decade in Philadelphia honing his culinary craft under a sushi master. When it came time to open a restaurant of his own, Long Island — with its abundance of available seafood and fish markets — was the perfect destination.

Gao took his palate and his passion to Patchogue, where he and fellow chefs Ansen Wang and Eric Lin founded 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge. The popular space is known for having some of the best sushi in Long Island.

Gao credits his success freshness.

“At 360 Taiko we are able to source almost all of our fish right from our local waters,” says Gao. “We have great fish markets around us, which include Haskell Seafood in Calverton, that provide quality grade fish for us.”

Gao is pairing up with Fink’s Country Farm in Wading River to deliver an appetizer and main dish at Island to Table, the annual outdoor dinner fundraiser that features local chefs cooking with Long Island-sourced products. The event raises money for HomeGrown Change, a nonprofit gardening and sustainability. Greater Long Island Media Group is the event’s media sponsor.

For Gao, this event is a chance to cook alongside other top chefs and explore the flavors Long Island has to offer.

“It is an honor, as well as a learning experience, to be able to work along with four other chefs from such varied backgrounds,” says Gao. “Each is bringing a different approach to the table.”

Gao will be exhibiting his finesse as a sushi master with an appetizer of Toro Carpaccio — an artfully presented seared cut of tuna wrapped in spicy kani, served with Japanese dressing and sweet chilli sauce.

For the main course, Gao is preparing Izumidai, which is firm, high-quality, sushi grade tilapia with a mild, clean taste. The cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m. Sunday. Click here for tickets.

Photos of Danny Gao by Benny Migliorino of Benny Migs Photo, the official photographer for Island to Table. Check back on GreaterPatchogue next week for more photos from the night’s events.