Monday, July 27, 2015

Dinner Lab

Guess what? I finally popped my cherry for Dinner Lab, the world's largest pop-up supper club that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous foodies (like you and I).  A guy by the name of Brian Bordanick, along with a bunch of his buddies, started the concept back in New Orleans in August of 2011.

Information on Chef, Menu and Rating Card

They were hungry and looking for some late night options in NOLA. After some trial and error, and a lot of eating, they came up with the ultimate and ever-evolving dining night out: Dinner Lab. It's kind of like now you see it, now you don't. For just 24 hours, unlikely spaces are transformed into cool, trendy dining spots, where guests can gather, break bread and enjoy an evening of eating and drinking. Now you and I both know the concept of pop-up restaurants has been around for years, and has even become more popular as of late. But Dinner Lab is a bit different. They concentrate on finding creative venues like parking garages, old theaters and warehouses, and transform them into a place where people can dine, interact with each other and have some fun.

The Dinner Lab I attended was held at
The Blue Shift Project Gallery in Wynwood

Not only do diners engage with each other but they also get the opportunity to chat with the chef, and learn about the inspiration and the ingredients behind the menu they have prepared. And to add to the experience, guests get to rate the meal in writing, from portion size, to flavor, to presentation, and offer feedback to the talented, up-and-coming chef.

Dinner and some swingin'
 Now that's what I'm talking about

Present in close to 25 cities and with nearly 20,000 members, another difference between Dinner Lab and other supper clubs is that historically, you could only participate if you were a member. And the current price is up to $175 for a yearly membership that enables you to receive notifications of upcoming dinners and the opportunity to purchase tickets to the event (prices range from $60 - $80 per dinner).While that still holds partially true, they have recently added a new component that will make many a food lover happy. Here's how it works. For the first time ever, Dinner Lab is offering a new community membership that is free to join, and provides access to the dinners. They chose Miami to launch this new expansion to their membership because while it is one of the most diverse, international cities in the United States, there are pockets of people that don't interact with one another. Can't think of a better way to bring people together than over food and drink.

Chef Chris Bailey

Dinner Lab has been providing events in Miami since January 2014, but just recently started offering the free memberships in order to grow its membership base in the Magic City and create more frequent events. I attended the last one they held over in Wynwood and I had a great time savoring the food and making new friends (who actually gave me excellent tips for a recent trip.) The name of the dinner was The Silk Rodeo and the showcased Chef was Chris Bailey, originally from Oahu Hawaii. His interpretation of Miami's cuisine, coupled with his knowledge of the beachy Hawaiian flavors, created an interesting base for his menu. He also brought in his South Pacific heritage to the mix and elevated the experience to a whole new level. Check out the final product:

Sopa De Calabaza
Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pepper Oil & Shiso, Whipped Chevre

Scallop Crudo
Chuka Tare, Satsuma Puree, Pickled Radish

Chilled Broccolini
Fresh Wasabi, Whipped Avocado, Crispy Garlic

Grilled Hangar Steak
Forbidden Rice Cake, Ilajua, Pickled Radish

Sour Orange Curd
Thai Long Pepper Shortbread, Grilled Peach, Red Bean Whipped Cream

If you haven't checked out a Dinner Lab event, I recommend you do so. For more information, or to sign up to become a member, visit their website here.

No comments:

Post a Comment