Everyone has that friend who was eating veal brain at Animal when veganism was still cutting edge, was already hanging out at The Edison back when it was only a power plant, and was the first in line to get a reservation at MV’s ink (if you have to ask who “MV” is, don’t even bother). His signature line is “Oh, did I tell you about that place?” and he knows every bartender in town on a first-name basis. Next time you get chastised for asking him if he’s heard of the new microbrewery that you just saw on – gasp! – Eater.com, we’ve got a backup conversation starter for you. Welcome to the Secret Supper Society.
Popping up at an undisclosed location near you, enter the underground dining scene. Chefs all over Los Angeles are looking for new and innovative places to share their food, and there’s nothing more intimate than a chef preparing a meal for you and your friends in someone’s home. Chefs like Isaiah Frizzell of pHeast are hosting traveling dinner parties (he describes it as a traveling band that plays cuisine), where a volunteer offers up his or her home, venue, or restaurant for an evening of modern dining. Guests can find out about the events by joining these supper club mailing lists, where they may be hand-selected to attend, or may even have to solve a riddle to find the secret location.
What to expect at the event? Interesting conversation among fellow foodies, chefs, and culinary industry folks. Isaiah says, “It can’t be compared to a traditional restaurant experience.” Many of these dinners are a mix of cooking demonstrations, communal food preparation, and a learning experience with new friends. The type of cuisine is often decided on a whim, based on whatever the chef is inspired by that week. Currently Isaiah has been doing a lot of research on cuisine from the middle and dark ages, and preparing them with a modern twist – think liver pâté coated in a tart aspic, and other molecular delicacies.
The chefs of Supper Liberation Front have taken “secrecy” to a whole new level by keeping their real names under wraps, and instead going by the stage names “Sacco and Vanzetti.” While the idea of anonymity is perfect for culinary school dropouts posing as Michelin-rated chefs, we’ve got good word that Sacco and Vanzetti are the real deal. A quick little Google search (if you’re so inclined) may reveal speculative resumes; we prefer to respect their privacy and keep them anonymous so that people like us can continue to enjoy five-star meals at a $40 price point.
Supper Liberation Front’s passion for experimentation will guide you through a meal like no other, and all they ask is that you have an open mind. They shared a story of one group of guests who came to an early seating, and then asked to stay for a second meal at the late seating. Sacco and Vanzetti agreed, and rather than serving the same meal twice, they rushed home, picked up some additional ingredients, and came back and prepared an entirely different meal for the group. At this test kitchen playground, they guarantee you’ll never have the same experience twice.
So – back to your friend. If he already knows all about these underground dinners, try blowing his mind with this breaking trend: dinner parties at private houses with amateur chefs. If you don’t know the chef personally, you probably won’t get an invite to these super exclusive dinner parties. The meal is typically comped, but the chef might ask you to bring an appetizer or a bottle of booze to share. Takes VIP to a whole new level.
Looking for more underground dinners? Check out this great list!