Anna Pump Remembered For ‘Style, Simplicity’

Famed Loaves and Fishes owner, cookbook author

Anna Pump, who was nationally known for her “Loaves and Fishes Cookbook” and its successors, as well as her Sagaponack gourmet food shop of the same name, was remembered this week after being struck by a truck on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton on Monday

“Style and simplicity, that was the way she thought,” her friend Ina Garten said.

Ms. Pump’s first cooking position on the South Fork was in the late 1970s at the Barefoot Contessa, which was then in Westhampton Beach, with Ms. Garten.

Ms. Garten said this week that from the start, Ms. Pump had a European sensibility and an “extraordinary ability for quality.” Her cooking, the books, and her shop were “very country and very elegant at the same time.”

She bought Loaves and Fishes 35 years ago, in a modest, one-story building where Sagg Main Street and Route 27 converge. Locally, the store became known for its impeccably prepared take-away items, breads, and desserts. It gained some notoriety during the early 2000s for pricing lobster salad at a then-unheard-of $60 a pound.

Ms. Pump was nonplussed by the critics. She told an interviewer for The Star, “Yes, I know everyone uses it as a benchmark of high prices. It is the best lobster salad there is, but, yes, I know it is also the most expensive.”

Ms. Pump most recently wrote “Summer on a Plate” with Gen LeRoy, whom she worked with on two other cookbooks, “The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook” in 1990 and “Country Weekend Entertaining” in 1999.

Her childhood was spent on her family’s farm in Flensburg, a small town in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein that until 1864 had been part of Denmark. She and her husband, Detlef, and their two children, Sybille and Harm, moved to Frenchtown, N.J.

Ms. Pump studied cooking with James Beard and Maurice Moore Betty, and when the children went off to college, she and her husband bought a house in Noyac, which she described years later as an “absolute wreck with a caved-in roof.”

“Schleswig-Holstein has water on both sides, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and my parents grew potatoes, rye, rutabagas. It seemed so familiar here — the potato fields, the seagulls, the smell,” she said in the 2003 interview.

After working alongside Ms. Garten, Ms. Pump bought Loaves and Fishes from Devon Fredericks and Susan Costner in 1980.

“I work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” she said in The Star interview. “I wouldn’t be able to keep up that pace all the time, so it’s a relief when September comes and I can cut back to weekends only. Then, on Dec. 31, we close and I have three and a half months off.” During the off months, she and her husband would travel.

In 1986 her daughter, Sybille Van Kempen, finished cooking school and joined her at Loaves and Fishes and an associated cookshop on Main Street in Bridgehampton.

They opened the Bridgehampton Inn and Restaurant in 1994. The original 1790s building was in poor shape, and Mr. Pump set to making it right. It was recently expanded, and the Loaves and Fishes Cookshop, which Ms. Van Kempen runs, was moved to a new space in the restaurant building.

“Anna loved the store,” Ms. Garten said. “She was not an absentee owner. Her pleasure was the shop.”

Ms. Pump’s funeral will be private. Visitors will be welcomed on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at 2964 Noyac Road in Noyac.