Happy New Year, everyone! Can’t believe it’s already 2016…how time flies. The last few days of 2015 sure have been busy. In a crunch to fight the dreaded holiday lull, I’ve been super busy at work with getting content out there on our pop-ups and meals. Just in case you’re not familiar with the concept of “pop-up dinners” or “supperclubs”, let me give you a quick 101.
Pop-ups are special meals hosted in a venue where they are not regularly served. Pop-ups can be hosted at a brick & mortar restaurant, but the chefs are often borrowing or leasing the venue for a temporary period (anywhere from a few hours in one evening to several weeks long). A pop-up is basically a “temporary restaurant”, so the menu is often a fixed multi-course tasting that highlights hyperlocal and in-season ingredients. The best way I would describe the pop-up concept is an ephemeral culinary experience showcasing the chef’s latest creations.
Supperclubs on the other hand, have a bit more stability. Similar to pop-ups, they don’t usually have a full lease on a commercial kitchen space, but are commonly hosted from the organizer’s or chef’s home, or in a rented public venue. Main differences are that supperclubs are more likely to have a recurring schedule for their meals and also a more consistent group of attendees. As a supper”club”, organizers are trying to build communities of passionate foodies, while encouraging and inviting new curious feasters to join. What I love about supperclubs is the tight-knit community feeling of the meals. The emphasis is not only on the chef, but more importantly, the people you’re sharing food and exchanging stories with.
At Feastly, I am working to combine the best of both worlds on a daily basis. Chefs vs eaters (we call them feasters) are often seen in two different spheres, but we break down those barriers and connect these two groups, by creating a unique & intimate culinary experience from a shared passion for good food and drink.
But where do we start? First, by asking a simple question. What makes something good food? Not just a Michelin star, or a food critic’s thumbs up. I believe that good food comes with a story. A history, a personality, even a single memory. You can’t just eat good food. You experience it: listening to the chef’s explanation of how they learned to make the dish, watching them prepare it, smelling the aromas and scents wafting around the table, and hearing the sizzle of the pan from the kitchen. Then, ultimately taking the first bite/sip/slurp of the dish, and closing your eyes as all the flavors hit you at once. There’s something magical there, that restaurants churning out the same menu every day and night for revenue just can’t capture.
I’ve seen some incredible moments at our meals: chefs opening up about their favorite childhood meals, feasters sharing their passion projects after realizing they work in the same industry (Pixar film animation or big data analysis, anyone?), and curious feasters joining the chef in the kitchen in hopes of picking up secret recipe tips. One of my favorite stories: a chef talking of his teen years, when his grandmother insisted on passing down her culinary knowledge to him because she tasted his girlfriend’s tortilla soup one day, and thought it was terrible. As for me, I just moved into an apartment with 2 girls I met at a chocolate-themed brunch (yes, it was as delicious as it sounds) with Feastly earlier this year! I asked to join them when they shared their plans to visit the North Beach Festival after the meal. We ended up spending the rest of the day together, and keeping in touch afterwards. 3 months later? I get a Facebook message from them asking if I’d like to take over a room while one of the girls is doing an out-of-state program. Funny how these life events can be set into motion by the smallest of things, or the briefest of interactions.
Whether you’re a local looking to discover a new side to the city, or an adventurous traveler foraging for an unforgettable experience, you’re always welcome at this table. If you’ve got plans to visit San Francisco anytime soon, please reach out to me! I’d love to meet you and take you to dinner (or brunch!).
Stay curious & bon appetite!
p.s. wanted to share some shots of my favorite meal I went to recently, an incredible Italian-inspired 4-course dinner…enjoy the food porn! 😉