The national underground social food club known as Dinner Lab launched their first Philly event last Friday Aug. 22nd and it was impressive to say the least. For those not familiar with Dinner Lab, essentially it is a dinner club where members pay an annual fee to attend pop-up dinners at unconventional locations such as warehouses, helipads, and in the case of last Friday, sound stages. Guests are not informed of the location until 24 hours prior to the event which adds to the excitement.
The chef’s at each event are generally the #2 or #3 guys at their respective restaurants and Dinner Lab provides a platform for these chefs to “tell their stories through food.” However, more is on the line then just preparing a great meal. Chefs who are participating in Dinner Lab are actually competing at a chance to have their own restaurant.
Last Friday’s chef was Bronx, NY native Chef Kwame Onwachi who titled the evening “From Candy Bars to Michelin Stars.” Prior to serving the packed venue, Chef Kwame gave a touching speech regarding his humble beginnings and emergence in the culinary world. Highlighting the fact that he sold candy bars on New York subways in order to pay for his first food venture, Chef Kwame’s monologue was inspiring and gave a backdrop to this menu’s “Story.”
The menu which consisted of unique and creative 7 courses, were for the most part paired with tasty cocktails. As a play on candy bars many of the course contained sweet ingredients including chocolate, brittle, candied kumquats, and candied bacon. The setting itself is what really set this event apart from other dinner events. The Invincible Pictures at Philadelphia Soundstages in North Philly set the backdrop. Personally I had no idea this unassuming place existed let alone know how awesome this space was. It felt almost like having dinner on a hollywood set, giving a sense of awe while chowing down on delicious food. The family style table setting also adds to the excitement, allowing guests to mingle freely as well as network. The fact that there was an open bar didn’t hurt either. Not to mention the very attentive staff made sure that no cups sat empty.
Overall the Dinner Lab event was a smash hit and definitely worth the investment if you love food and have a sense of adventure. Although it was not clear when the next dinner will take place in Philly, I am already on board.
For more information about Dinner Lab or to sign up visit https://dinnerlab.com/