Weeks ago my friend Lucy asked me if I wanted to attend an upcoming Studiofeast event and I said yes without even knowing what I was in for (this seems to happen a lot with food events). An invitation-only culinary collective, Studiofeast creates unbelievable gastronomic experiences (you may remember the L train lunch?), that bring new ideas to dining and what it means to be social. This particular event would be a Doppelganger Dinner, a six course menu for 40 people; 20 omnivore and 20 vegetarians. The entire meal centered around one theme: each course’s vegetarian and omnivore version would look almost completely identical without reusing ingredients on either side except for salt, oil, butter, etc.
Each of the four tables were interspersed with each dining preference and Lucy and I sat down next to two girls who we became fast friends with almost immediately. Unfortunately for me the entire meal came with wine pairings (courtesy of Brian Quinn) and I had just recently taken a break from alcohol after a recent night on the town. So as my fellow diners sipped, I drank water. With a menu acting as a de facto place mat, I was introduced to this evenings menu….
Each side had the same theme but obviously different variations. While meat-eaters ate bone marrow, vegetarians dug into a hollowed out potato with onion jam inside! It was magnificent what Mike Lee (the creator of Studiofeast) and his friends cooked up for us. Sheer gastronomic genius!
*40 peeps: 20 veggies and 20 meaties*
This was our amuse…. and side by side: other than the obvious designation above, you cannot even tell the difference! Lucy told me that these events sell out fast so I didn’t have the forethought to think that perhaps we should do a side-by-side comparison but luckily the girls seated across from us obliged us in tastes of each of their dishes (which we reciprocated). While I didn’t get photos of their dishes, I got many great pics of mine!
*Beef with a Smoked Egg Yolk*
*Beef with Mustard Greens and Duckfat*
*Shrimp Noodle with Bacon Dashi*
*Duck, Celery and Sweet Potato*
*Sea Scallop, Green Beans and Red Pepper*
*Uni, Lobster, Corn and Licorice*
Dessert was made by Micah Phillips, the pastry chef at Compose and boy did he bring it. When I looked at the menu and saw sea urchin and lobster as main components in my dessert, I grew worried. But what was placed in front of me looked nothing short of magnificent and I did everything short of lick the plate when I attacked the dessert. A true culinary artist, Micah has made me a “Phillips Phollower.” How fast can I get myself (and my credit card) to Compose because this guy’s desserts need to be in my life ASAP!
Since I go to many food-related events/dinners around the city I try to limit myself to tickets that are below $100, but this exception to my rule was worth every dollar (tickets were $110). It’s hard to find events that really push the limits or provide you with an exclusive experience but Studiofeast did both and provided me with so much more! I promptly signed myself up for their email list and even inquired about volunteering with them at future events. Studiofeast may be exclusive right now but just you wait… once more people catch onto this thing, it’s gonna blow up this city!
If you too would like to learn more about this great dining experience and future events, hit up their site!