As mentioned yesterday on MarcusSamuelsson.com, Outstanding in the Field, is an extraordinary dining experience that gives diners the opportunity to meet the chef and farmer while dining in a natural setting. Overall, this event was a wonderful experience enjoyed by all and the mission of Outstanding in the Field is an idea worth bringing focus on.
When asked why he started Outstanding in the Field, Jim Denevan says their goal was to "take the farm-to-table movement a step further and bring a table-to-farm to guests for Outstanding in the Field." "We wanted to show an appreciation of the people behind the ingredients on menus. It's a way to feature farmers and push them out front instead of just as supporting character for the chef," claims Denevan. In doing so, the company has succeeded in building new and substantial relationships not only between guests and local farmers, but also between the farmers and chefs themselves, that might have not existed prior to their interaction through the featured dinner.
We were fortunate enough to be selected for one of these exciting dining events which was held on Monday, August 29th at Queens County Farm. The long family-style table was perfectly laid in the wine grape field of Queens Farm and set the stage for an exquisite dinner prepared by our Red Rooster staff, with ingredients right from the Queens Farm fields itself. So popular are the Outstanding in the Field dinners, that tickets are sold out almost immediately after being put on sale in the winter by the organization. Guest Jennifer Falk mentioned that this particular dinner at Queens Farm was sold out within the hour of its announcement. Falk has visited Red Rooster in Harlem before but was looking forward to what else Marcus Samuelsson would "bring to the table at an event such as this."
Other guests like Clara Felix and Venus Dennison, were pulled to this precise Outstanding in the Field by Marcus' name. Monday's dinner was Clara's third time at Outstanding in the Field, while it was Venus' first, but both were looking for a way to "slow down (their) lives from hectic city pace," and dining on a farm for the night seemed like just the place to do so. These dinners are not only looked forward to by guests but also by its employees, as Outstanding in the Field Food Expeditor, Katie Wyer, mentioned "every time (we) do a dinner, and you see the relationships that start building between the farmers and chefs, you are constantly reminded that there's a reason for these events. It makes it more than just a great dinner. There's always room to plant more seeds in building these relationships." Katie started out with Outstanding in the Field two and a half years ago as a volunteer and has since become their expeditor for each of their events throughout the country. "You start to realize that these dinners are the one big party that these farmers get dressed up for and look forward to every year and when you do repeated farms, it's like you're re-visiting family- it's great!."
Not only has Outstanding in the Field been able to repeat their events on many farms, but it has grown substantially throughout the years, even reaching Europe by the end of this summer. Starting in September, they will put together dinners in England, Ireland, and Italy. With such evident success, Outstanding in the Field will soon be seen orchestrating extraordinary dining events throughout the world. We wish them luck on their first trip to Europe and look forward to seeing their continued success in building relationships between farmers, chefs, and guests.
Check out additional photos from last Monday's event below:
Photos: Cyndi Amaya