The sun sets in the horizon. Diners on your left and right at the long table are talking, laughing and sipping wine. But get up and your oxfords might touch mud. Move your chair too far back and it might just knock over carrots growing in a row.
This is clearly not your average restaurant. Outstanding In The Field is a pop-up dining experience turning up at farms across the US. The concept was founded by chef Jim Denevan in 1999 to “re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food”, long before the farm-to-table concept became an international buzzword.
Each dinner is a five-course meal prepared by a celebrated local chef and created with produce from local farms – the ingredients sometimes harvested from land within a metre of your seat. But more than food will be shared at the table. Farmers, culinary artisans and guests from surrounding towns will be rubbing shoulders and sharing stories with travelling gourmets in search of a satisfying meal.
“The whole dinner has a sense of theatricality to it,” says Denevan in an interview with New York-based Veranda magazine.
“It’s a journey that all the participants have embarked on together, and each leg is like another piece of the bigger puzzle – where that night’s food comes from, what the farmers’ stories are, what the weather is like that day, and so on.”
While these meals are mostly held in the US, the team has done international tours to Europe and Brazil in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and are considering going abroad again next year.
For more information, visit www.outstandinginthefield.com￼￼￼