A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to experience a relatively new gathering along the supper club/shared eating model called Kitchensurfing. There’s a few of these types of web-driven companies that have popped up recently that aim to bring together folks around the communal experience of sharing food, something that sometimes gets lost in the take-away, eating-over-the-sink, cereal and/or toast for dinner wave that many of us fall victim to with our busy work and social lives. One of the people in my cooking course is involved with Kitchensurfing and arranged for me to participate in a lunch being held at Ger-Nis, a culinary education space in Gowanus, Brooklyn, that was prepared by The Breakfast Bachelor.
With Kitchensurfing, would-be clients can locate culinary resources in their city that suit their cooking and budgetary needs. The site has been live for about six months now. For the moment, the service is active in New York, Berlin, and Richmond, Virginia. The founders are currently in the process of rolling this out to several other cities as well.
This is an easy and convenient way to put together a dinner party without you, the host, having to prepare everything for your guests, and you can fix the price for the meal in advance, working with the chef, based upon the rates that are advertised on the website. Clients provide the space for the event.
For this luncheon, I got together with other self-employed/freelance folks on a weekday to enjoy a light, three-course meal and some interesting conversations that ranged from the eating habits of millennials to the culture of start-ups and working with reclaimed wood to create new salable products. The summery, herbal Strawberry-Thyme Soda that Alex had created to go along with the meal fit perfectly with the light banter around the table as the guests got to know each other and discussed their businesses. A peppery, citrusy salad started off the meal on a refreshing note.
For our main course, the chef had fixed a dish that he explained was “a bit of both” a knife and a fork food, when guests inquired as to how to eat it. This banh mi-inspired creation had a light heat alongside of tangy vegetables and cooling cilantro. During the lunch, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Muscarella, one of the founders of Kitchensurfing. He said their impetus was to serve as a resource to put together eaters and chefs.
As we talked more about how their chef-eater matching model work, we broke into the chocolate-filled dessert pastry, scooping up plump, sweet raspberries and bits of luscious, fresh cream. For the moment, he explained between taking bites of this sweet conconction, they are renting out the space at Ger-Nis, which gives them a physical location for holding classes and meals, but the fact that events can be put together anywhere anyone has a space just by linking them to a chef is really the core of what they do. Their database is still growing, but they already have chefs who are willing to travel to different locations wherever there is an audience of consumers.
I really enjoy the whole process of organizing a dinner party from the menu planning to the guest list to (albeit a lesser extent) the clean-up stage; however, I know that many people do not like doing this and find entertaining to be a tedious and daunting task. Kitchensurfing seems like a terrific alternative for those who would like to host their friends at home or even in another space but who don’t want to have to prepare all the food themselves or to have it more formally catered. The array of chefs in the database also means you can reach outside of your culinary comfort zone and host a party that features a cuisine that might not be in your particular cooking repertoire or even possibly include a short cooking demonstration for your guests in addition to the meal.