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Secret Dining: New Eating Experiences

Secret Dining: New Eating Experiences

Pop-ups and secret dining: A look at some of the best one-off food events and pop ups FDL visited throughout 2011

By FDL on

Chefs and fine dining dishes get out of the restaurants and take over a multitude of spaces – either public or private – in which meals become an unusual experience, one that’s both intimate and convivial – shared, often times, with strangers. Organized by collectives of chefs or artists, these events are held in untraditional and often secret locations. Sound intriguing? This is why, in 2011, we went all over the world to give you a first-hand recounting of these kinds of original, social, secret dining experiences.

Take, for example, the concept of the Supper Club: collective dinners organized in private homes or unconventional places, that one learns about through word of mouth and can put themselves on the waiting list via internet.

We began in the U.K. – the birthplace of the Supper Club movement and home of the pioneer club MsMarmitelover – where we enjoyed a dinner prepared by Anita and Monica the mother and daughter duo of Indian origins who created Manchester’s Spice Club. Our first-hand recount explains why, if you want to enjoy a home-cooked, authentic Indian meal, it’s worth the effort to get over any sense of shyness...

In London that’s already buzzing with anticipation for the 2012 Olympics,the chef collective called the Young Turks occupied an abandoned building where they prepared a secret dinner whose specifics were given out over Twitter. In the enormous ex-office space that was set to be demolished in a matter of hours, they set up an exclusive, one-off restaurant. Read about this unusual dinner here.

From the other part of the Atlantic, in the heart of Brooklyn, the designerJulia Ziegler-Haynes invited us to her Williamsburg apartment for her monthly Dinner Bell evening. If you want a seat at her table along with New York’s other creative, adventurous foodies, you can’t just ask. The invitation will come when you least expect it...

We couldn’t miss the first American edition of Dinner en Blanc: a secret, elegant picnic that began in France – whose only rule is total white. Clothing, accessories, table linens and settings – everything for these evenings must be pure white and gleaming. And once again, the exact location for these meals is kept secret until the last minute when it’s revealed via text message. The location for the event turned out to be New York’s Battery Park, where we joined the other 1,150 diners who, in less than five minutes, managed to reserve their places online. Read about the meal and check out our photogallery here.

Giving new meaning to “underground”, the collectives Studiofest and A Razor, A Shiny Knife in New York have transformed a subway car from the L line into an itinerant restaurant. Every 4 or 5 stops, a different dish is served: if you’d like to join the group, you’ll find all the necessary information here.

Take your pick of these “untraditional” dining experiences… and who knows what new endeavours will pop up in 2012? 

Photo by sgoralnick | flickr

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