Category Archives: Secret Dinner

Secret Dinners Sydney International Food Festival 2011 – Guest Post

By | Secret Dinner, Sydney Festival | 11 Comments

Following a massive October, time is slowing down again and life is falling into place. I finally have a place of my own, after being displaced for close to 6 months (hence the low frequency of blogging) and it’s great having all the dinners I had been planning all behind me now. The eggplant dinners and secret dinners I’ve organised have been a huge success, but man, they were exhausting. Without the massive amount of support I’ve received, things may have turned out differently.

The post below is a guest post by Linda To, aka: cuz, Jonathan, your sister and what’s your name again?. Linda is a good friend of mine, a hugely talented cook and a blogger at Eat Show and Tell, one of my favourite Sydney blogs. Below she shares her experience of being part of the secret dinner team. Here’s a huge thank you to Linda, Justine, Darren and Thomas from Restaurant Atelier where my secret dinners were held, Somer, Anise and the boys from Efendy and Priscila, my friend from Romeu & Julieta.

Linda To, the creator of a most awesome secret dinner dessert, writes:

The last couple of weeks has been one of the most amazingly intense experiences that I have ever experienced. Thanks to Fouad, I was fortunate enough to be involved in a couple of Secret Dinners for the Crave International Food Festival. This will be a relatively long post summarising the highs and lows of my journey, so sit back, relax and enjoy.

Prepping in the kitchen

Prepping in the kitchen

It all started 5 weeks ago. Howard and I bumped in to Fouad and a friend whilst walking along George St in the city to our dinner destination one saturday night. It had nearly been a year since I’d seen Fouad, with his newborn baby Sara and months of travelling around the middle east taking up his time, the bloke was a busy man so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

Fouad proceeded to introduce us to his friend, the conversation went something like this:

Fouad: Hey Guys, this is my friend Linda. Linda, this is my friend Howard and…

All four of us must have stood there for about the longest 5 seconds ever with Fouad staring at me in confusion. Sensing this, I reminded Fouad that my name was also Linda =P. Understandably embarassed by this encounter, we both laughed it off and bid each other farewell.

An hour later, I received a message from Fouad apologising profusely for the little mishap, but more importantly asking me whether I’d like to work with him on a couple of Secret Dinners. Having worked with Fouad before, I knew this was too good an opportunity to miss, however I did vow to never let him forget about “that” incident.

The First Secret Dinner

Fast forward one week to the first Secret Dinner. At 5pm on Sunday, the guests were notified of the location of the dinner via SMS which was at Restaurant Atelier in Glebe. Fouad suggested that I come up with a Lebanese inspired dessert for the secret dinners. On such short notice I wasn’t able to come up with a dessert I was actually happy with, so we both agreed that we could serve a dessert that Fouad previously made for his chickpea dinner.

Chicken liver parfait with pomegranate molasses

Fouad divised the menu in to 4 courses; Cold Mezze plus a salad, Hot Mezze, Main and Dessert. Cold Mezze served on the first night were: deliciously smooth Chicken Liver Parfait dressed with pomegranate molasses, pieces of pomegranate seeds and watercress salad; and Hummus with pomegranate molasses.

These Cold Mezze were served with freshly baked turkish bread. I am generally not a fan of hummus finding it little bland (please don’t shoot me), however I found the addition of the pomegranate molasses added that much needed kick that I was yearning for. The salad was the only consistant factor throughout the three dinners, a refreshingly herb salad consisting of tomato, cucumber, radish, red onion, watercress, A LOT of thyme, cheese and olive oil.

Prior to serving each of the courses, Fouad would go out and describe to the diners the next dish, the history of the dish and sometimes adding anecdotes of his family’s influences. Most of the time whilst Fouad did his thing, I was busy in the kitchen plating the dishes whilst desperately trying to listen to his stories. The only thing I can derived from listening to Fouad’s gibberish (=P) is that this guy is one hell of a storyteller.

Hot Mezze for the first night were Fried Pumpkin Kibbeh stuffed with minced lamb and onion, served with a yoghurt and green chilli dip. Initially Justine (sous chef of Atelier) and I had difficulty shaping the Kibbeh in to it’s traditional oval shape. Realising the impossibility of producing 65-70 evenly shaped kibbeh, Fouad suggested we used plastic dariole moulds to help shape the kibbeh, producing what we later named the “Fez Hat” Kibbeh.

The other hot mezze served on the night was my Linda Fried Chicken Wings (LFC) served with Toum (Garlic Sauce). I absolutely adore toum, thanks to El Jannah in Granville, however after tasting Fouad’s version, I think Fouad’s could rival the holy grail.

Fouad proudly presented his Main course of Moghrabieh served on a round platter approximately 1m in diameter (I may be exaggerating a little) to a silent room. Each person stopped in their tracks as they realised the sheer monstrosity of the platter. It was definitely the talking point for the remainder of the night. The Moghrabieh was cooked in a concentrated chicken stock, topped with tender, fall off the bone roast lamb shoulder and poached chicken.

To finish off the night, we served Fouad’s trifle chickpea dessert. The bottom layer consisted of a Labneh, thickened cream and icing sugar mix, it was then covered by pieces of Mamoul-mad (a semolina and walnut cookie/cake), another layer of the Labneh mix, sprinkling of chopped candied chickpeas and finally garnishing of vibrant candied orange blossom. Each components of the dessert worked really well together, the tangy Labneh was a good balance to an otherwise too sweet dessert.

For me, our first secret dinner was the most difficult. Working in an unfamilair kitchen for 10 hours straight, slicing, dicing, chopping and frying took its toll on me and by the end of the night, I was buggered. My back and legs were aching, my arms sore, I was tired and hungry, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to handle another 2 nights like this. However, learning about all the different traditional Lebanese food that I have never ever heard of before, the franticness (is that even a word?) of getting food ready at service time, and generally having a hoot working with Fouad made all the pain worth it.

The Second Secret Dinner

The second Secret Dinner a week later was a vegetarian dinner. This time, I found working the entire day much more manageable, this could also be due to the fact that we had a couple of chefs, Greg Malouf, Darren Tempelman, chef and owner of Restaurant Atelier, Efendy’s Somer Sivroglou and Fouad’s friend Priscilla helping us in the kitchen throughout the night. Overall, it was just a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Cold Mezze served for the Vegetarian dinner were two delicious dips, Muhammarah and Baba Ghanoush served with deep fried Lebanese bread or fresh Lebanese bread. I loved the Muhammarah so much that I smuggled a container home after the dinner. It was a great addition to my mundane sandwiches for lunch.

Hot Mezze for the vegetarians were traditional Turkish Pacanga which Somer happily taught us how to make. As Pacanga are normally filled with Pastrami or prosciutto and kashar cheese, for the vegos, Somer substituted the pastrami for mozarella cheese, creating a super cheesey Pacanga. The other Hot Mezze was Stir Fried Okra, chillies and deep fried bread with pomegranate molasses.

Vegetarians were served main course of “Fez Hat” Kibbeh, however the lamb mixture was subsituted for a caramelised onion and toasted almond and pine nut mix. These fried goodies were served in a yogurt soup.

Once again, dessert for the night was Fouad’s chickpea dessert.

The Last Secret Dinner

Fouad warned me for the last dinner there was to be no more excuses, he really wanted me to come up with a dessert, the pressure was definitely on. Throughout the month, I had so many ideas racing through my mind, deciding on what Lebanese ingredients to use, and how to incorporate these ingredients in to each components of the dessert. After weeks of experimenting and chopping and changing ideas, finally, 2 days before the dinner, I came up with something I was proud enough to serve to people.

The final dinner was held last Sunday. By this time, I knew the kitchen like the back of my hand and everything ran smoothly on the day. Each person knew their roles and responsibility, we were so efficient that we finished prepping by 4pm, which is extremely rare.

The Cold Mezze were the Muhammarah and Baba Ghanoush, you can’t go wrong with these two beauties. Hot Mezze were traditional Pacanga filled with Pastrami and Kashar cheese and Somer’s Loquat kebabs. The main was the Morabiah that we had served at the first dinner, however the Moghrabiah pasta was replaced by Basmati rice.

Ding Ding Ding. Show time! It was my turn to reveal my dessert.

The aim of my dessert was to utilise ingredients that are commonly used in traditional Lebanese desserts and incorporate it in to modern desserts that most people are familiar with e.g. chocolate cakes, caramels and ice cream. I wanted to show the versatility of these ingredients and hopefully encourage people to experiment with them.

“Johnathan” – My plated dessert

Components of my desserts consisted of:

  • Chocolate Pistachio dacquoise base – Fouad loves dacquoise so requested I somehow use it in my dessert.
  • Chocolate Labneh mousse – Chocolate mousse are usually quite rich. To cut this richness, I incorporated Labneh (strained yoghurt) into the mix.
  • Kataifi dusted with icing sugar – Kataifi is finely shredded filo pastry. I couldn’t believe that I had never used Kataifi in any of my desserts before. It’s such a light pastry that when baked in ghee provides a beautiful buttery delecate crunch.
  • Orange blossom caramel – As the name suggests, orange blossom syrup is a syrup made from the flowers of an orange tree. Prior to this dinner I had no idea this fragrant thing existed. For the orange blossom caramel, I made a standard caramel and to finish it off splashed in a couple of teaspoons of orange blossom syrup.
  • Pistachio crumble – I used the same recipe as the one I used for the Merivale’s Bistro CBD dinner, however substituted the almond for pistachio.
  • Zaatar ice cream – Fouad’s contribution to the dessert was the Zaatar (thyme) ice cream. Using Fouad’s recipe, I churned out 8L of ice cream which we found out later that night was way more than is necessary, however I was more than happy to take home the leftovers. I love the idea of using herbs in desserts so I was ecstatic by the outcome of the ice cream, it was freaking fantastic.
  • Poached spiced pears – I poached the peeled and cored pears in a syrup spiced with star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

Plating up desserts

Somer and Darren helping to plate my dessert

Looking back, the most memorable moment of the whole event for me was standing back and supervising Darren, Somer, Fouad and Justine plate up what I had conceptualise, my dessert. It was such a surreal moment, something I will remember for a long time.

A special event like this would have not happened without a couple of key people. To finish off this post, there are a few people I would like to thank. Fouad – for giving me the opportunity to work with him again, I meant it when I told him it was such an honour to work with someone that’s so passionate about their food and their culture. The chefs that helped us throughout the month, Somer, Darren and Justine – some of the most resiliant people that I have ever met. All the patrons that came along for the experience, hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves!

Finally Howard – for being my critic and advisor. If you thought Terry Durack was tough, try being criticised by Howard, toughest critic ever!

The original concept using chocolate brulee instead of Labneh chocolate mousse.

Its funny how blogging has opened up opportunities like this for me. Hopefully, I get to experience something like this again in the near future.

——–
Thanks Linda for a great post, and a huge thanks to Howard, also from Eat Show & Tell for providing all the fantastic photos.
secretdinner

Sydney Secret Dinner

By | Secret Dinner | 5 Comments

Hi. So you want to come to my secret dinners?

Well, the next ones are coming up in October, and are running as part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival.
Enquire about booking for the secret dinner by sending an email to secretdinner[at]thefoodblog.com.au replacing the “[at]” with “@”.

So what’s a secret dinner? It’s a dinner where the location is top secret and is disclosed to you only hours before the event takes place, by the great power of SMS. The dinner costs $70 per person for a beautiful 4 course sharing feast. The food is in my unique style and will highlight some spectacular dishes rarely seen outside of the Middle East. Diners are expected to bring their own wine and share it with fellow guests. The dates for the secret dinner are:

Sun 09, 7:00 PM
Sun 16, 7:00 PM (VEGETARIAN)
Sun 23, 7:00 PM
Sun 30, 7:00 PM

P.S. Booking will be confirmed after your enquiry and you will be given payment details.

Avocado Mousse with Strawberry and Agave Sorbet – A New Take on the Great Lebanese Fruit Cocktail

By | lebanese food, Recipes, Secret Dinner | 7 Comments

Well. Where have I been? No new blog posts since the 12th of October! What a shameful excuse for a foodie you say, no? Well, as a matter of fact, I have been so consumed with food related matters that I haven’t had the chance to do anything else, including the update of this blog. October was the month for SIFF, the Sydney International Food Festival, and besides attending several events, including the World Chef Master Showcase, I have been busy preparing an event of my own. Along with my friends (and fellow food bloggers), I’ve been more than a mere attendant of SIFF. The 24th and 31st of October saw Lili, Trish and myself prepare dinner for 60 diners at our Food Bloggers’ Secret Dinner. A full account of the event may come here soon, but you’ll be able to read some great blog posts at Karen or Steph’s blogs who attended our first dinner.

This entry is about one of the dishes I prepared on the night. This recipe is one that I am extremely proud of because of its simplicity, originality and amazing flavours. My avocado mousse with strawberry and agave sorbet is based on the Lebanese fruit cocktail. The original cocktail is made with avocados mixed with milk and honey, topped with almonds and a layer of ashta (Lebanese clotted cream), followed by chunky fruits covered with strawberry nectar and finally topped with more ashta, nuts and honey. This cocktail is just one of the best things you can have on a hot summer’s day, and apart from the ashta, it is very healthy. My approach stays true to the original, but starts with a layer of my strawberry and agave sorbet, topped with the avocados and finishes with double cream and pistachios. Agave syrup is my favourite low calorie sweetener, followed by xylitol and stevia. It is an extract of the agave cactus and is supposed to be low GI making it suitable for diabetics, and has a consistency similar to honey but thinner. The flavour is awesome. Of all the dishes I made that night, this is the most special to me. You have to try it. You will absolutely love it. The textures work amazingly well together, and the different temperatures are spot on. Of course, you have to prepare the sorbet first and freeze it. I promise you, this is THE BEST strawberry sorbet you will ever have.

Avocado Mousse with Strawberry and Agave Sorbet Recipe

Strawberry and Agave Sorbet
Ingredients
800 ml strawberry purée (fresh strawberries puréed in the food processor)
1 cup light agave

Method: Throw ingredients in the food processor and blend for 5 minutes (you want the seeds of the strawberries to almost disappear). Churn in your ice cream maker as you know how.

Avocado Mousse
Ingredients
1 avocado (cold from the fridge)
1/3 cup milk
2 tbspn honey

Method: Again, throw ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth and thick. You want it to be sweet, but not too sweet, so add honey if you need to

Putting it all together:
Layer the sorbet first, then the avocado mousse, topped with double cream and finish with peeled pistachios. You can get dry pistachios, soak them in water for 4 hours and then peel them.

Sydney International Food Festival Secret Dinners

By | Secret Dinner | One Comment
EVENT IS NOW FULL.

Join three of Sydney’s food bloggers for a four-course dinner somewhere in Sydney. The Food Blog, Pikelet and Pie and Forque share the food and seasonal produce they love. Secret dinners are based on a unique concept that creates a different, more intimate dynamic between the hosts, guests and venue. The diners share a meal with friends and strangers somewhere known to them only hours before the event.

Cost: $65, BYO wine to share
When: Sat Oct 24
Where: that’s… a secret
To Book: Send an email with your name, phone number and number of guests (maximum 4, or 2 per SMH subscriber) to secretdinner@thefoodblog.com.au. Spots are limited and your reservation will be confirmed via return email.

The Food Blog’s Secret Dinner @ Element Bistro

By | Dinners, Secret Dinner | 13 Comments


Young Organic Lamb Shish Barak

Saturday 25th July 2009. Driving down to Element Bistro, Lainy and I stop past Lili’s to pick her up. Lili has prepared the dessert for the evening, and the last time we taste tested it, she wasn’t happy. This time though, she has used a different technique, and the chocolate and orange cake was supposedly richer and more moist, she assured me. But my anxiety is taking over me. My heart is running on high speed, each beat amplifying the smallest of concerns into catastrophic proportions. My biggest fear as we keep driving is the venue. I had not spoken to the owner Matt Barnett since Monday, and I do not have his mobile phone number. As I get no answer when I ring the restaurant’s land line, my heart pounds even harder, and I get vivid hallucinations of thirty two secret diners stranded in front of a closed door.

March 17th 2009. I am sitting at work flipping through Good Living in the Tuesday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, and am totally consumed by an article about secret dinners. What grabs me is not the style of writing, or the experience of the author, but rather the concept. Secret dinners. People gathering secretly to dine, brought together by a singular cause or idea shared over a meal in a location known only to them. The author traces back the origins to the days of alcohol prohibition in the United States, but I feel its roots go further back, and that the current form is a reshaped ideological Last Supper.

Over the next few weeks, the idea brews in my head and becomes all consuming. Could I do it? Take over a venue for a night and see firsthand what it’s like to be a real life chef? Of course I can! In fact, it’s what I have to do.


Eddie as Front of House

Wednesday 27th May 2009. Life has caught up with me, and the idea of a secret dinner is way behind, but like all great ideas, it fights its way back and I find myself posting a blog entry openly inviting people to register for my secret dinner to be held on July 25th. The night was to be inspired from the Mediterranean and would focus on locally sourced produce, in the hope of introducing people to the wealth they have at their doorstep. I swiftly set my facebook status to “come to my secret dinner party” and low and behold, people are actually interested! I had decided that I would keep the number low. Twenty was a nice even number, and seemed perfectly reasonable, but within about four hours, around eighteen people had already booked and I still had not finished going through my emails. This was becoming scary, and the gracious Lebanese host in me could not say no. One very interesting reply came from Lili. I hadn’t actually seen her for around three years, but for a few months, during my Newtown years, Lili had been a good friend, and as I remember, a trained chef.


Me and Lili – The Cook and the Chef

Lili’s first message expressed interest in the dinner, but her second message went like this:

Bwahahaha – I just realised that ‘The Food Blog’ was you. Wonderful!
Me too, by the way: www.pikeletandpie.com
🙂

I click on the link, and discover a great treat. Food blogs can be very frustrating, with many of them stating boring facts with poor use of the language, giving little insight. But Lili’s blog was different – fun, informative, well written with no spelling or grammar mistakes, and most of all, it really sounded like her, honest and talented. Lili had to be recruited. Luckily though, she was easy enough to convince, and I had my pastry chef problem sorted.


The Introductory Speech: Welcome to the Secret Dinner

For the next recruit, I didn’t have to think hard. Trish has been a friend for years, and I’ve hardly seen a young person so enthusiastic about food or good produce. Over the years, Trish had worked at many a fine establishment. We met when she was working at Campos Coffee in Newtown, and afterwards she moved to The Cheese Room in GPO, and then to the Central Baking Depot. Trish was a bread making wizard and was about to embark on a six week foodie European journey. We agreed that she will be cooking one of the courses, to be decided when she came back.

After a big mess with the City of Sydney wanting me to provide public liability insurance to allow Channel Nine to film (they eventually pulled out, so I won’t go into that), I had to drop the booking I had made with the Redfern Town Hall and find an alternate venue. I needed somewhere that was capable of holding the number of people booked, somewhere that had a kitchen, and somewhere that would not be in use on a Saturday night. A persistent voice inside pushed me to contact Element Bistro. This was a small intimate venue, below the street level on King Street in the CBD. The ambiance was perfect for the occasion, and I had experienced many fantastic meals there. The chef was a true talent, dishing out honest, authentic French bistro style food in the ex Merrony site. Best of all, they did not open on Saturdays. So I send an email, a phone call being a bit too embarrassing (where’s my courage?), explaining the situation, and thankfully after a brief meeting , chef/owner Matt Barnett accepts to hire out the venue, and to cook one of the dishes. Finally, all the pieces are in place.


Trish’s Meditarranean Cheese Journey

The menu is set. Trish would be making a Mediterranean cheese journey. A trio of local fresh cheese based dishes inspired from Italy, Greece and Lebanon. The first would be buffalo mozzarella with tomato and oregano, then buffalo feta on a potato pancake with fennel and orange, and finally labneh (Lebanese yoghurt cheese) with roasted walnuts and beetroot and a honey vinegar drizzle.


Young Organic Lamb Shish Barak

My two dishes are Lebanese in origin. First is my own recipe for shish barak consisting of spiced lamb dumplings with a cooked garlic and yoghurt sauce flavoured with coriander and served with silver beet. The second dish is moghrabbiyeh, a Lebanese variant of couscous which I would serve with chickpeas, chicken, black pudding, caramelised onions and a sticky, heavily reduced chicken stock and gewürztraminer, made rich with burnt sugar and butter and gently spiced with star anise and caraway.


Chicken and Black Pudding Moghrabbiyeh

Matt’s dish is a fillet of beef wrapped around bone marrow and cavolo nero, served with sauce soubise and a potato and thyme croquette and a stocky, flavoursome jus. This would be followed by Lili’s dessert of chocolate and orange cake, topped with an orange blossom panna cotta, pine nut praline and candied orange blossoms.


Matt Barnett’s (Element Bistro) Beef and Bone Marrow with Sauce Soubise and Potato and Thyme Croquette

Saturday 25th July 2009 – Secret Dinner Day

3:00 PM: The message is sent to the secret diners, the location is exposed
3:30 PM: I’m picking up Lili and heading to the venue, anxious and nervous. Why can’t people drive properly? And why isn’t Matt answering? Will he be there?
3:35 PM: Matt answers the phone! Praise the Lord! Why am I so impatient? Great relief, but is the sauce container in the boot secure?
4:00 PM: Arrive at Element Bistro and unload the food. The kitchen is ready and Matt is fully prepared. We start prepping. Lainy and Eddie start readying the tables.
5:00 PM: Trish arrives. It’s not like her to be late and she is slightly under prepared. She is nervous as she had been visiting sick relatives, and feels she is running behind. We gather our thoughts and start helping her out. Luckily, the dishes track well on time.
7:00 PM: People start walking through the door. All my nervousness disappears for some reason and I am totally calm. Lainy and Eddie are playing front of house for the evening and help the guests with wine and seating.
7:30 PM: Most of the guests are there and it’s time to get the show on the road.


Lili’s Chocolate and Orange Tile with Orange Blossom Panna Cotta

Trish, Lili, Matt and I leave the kitchen briefly to welcome everyone. The evening starts with a local olive oil tasting, and then the dishes start coming out. I manage to sneak out between courses, firstly to introduce the dishes and the chefs, and then to chat to everyone. The dishes are going down a storm and everyone is blown away by the new flavours and textures they are experiencing. From Trish’s wonderful cheeses, to the gently spiced lamb dumplings in yoghurt sauce, followed by the full flavoured chicken and black pudding moghrabbiyeh, Matt’s heavenly tender beef with rich bone marrow and sweet, creamy soubise, that fragrant potato and thyme croquette, and Lili’s decadence of chocolate and orange cake topped with the sexy panna cotta and pine nut praline, a revelation in harmony. Everything works, and works beautifully.

I can’t explain what this experience has meant to me. In fact, I am still having sleepless nights, my mind buzzing with joy and excitement, and I haven’t fully been able to assimilate all the feelings it has instilled. What I do know is that we achieved something special, something most people have not experienced, and that we have been able to share the joy food brings us with people who absolutely loved it. I also know that it felt right cooking in that kitchen.

Venue:
Element Bistro
163 King St Sydney 2000 NSW
Tel: (02) 9231 0013
Fax: (02) 9232 8447
Web: www.elementbistro.com.au

Contributors:
Lili Roby: www.pikeletandpie.com
Patricia Lathourakis: www.forque.com.au
Matt Barnett: Element Bistro

Producers
Chicken – John Meredith, Thirlmere Poultry, Supplier Vic’s Meats
Lamb – Organic Lamb from Young NSW, Supplier Dulwich Hill Gourmet Butcher
Black Pudding – Eumundi Smokehouse, Dulwich Hill
Beef – Banksia Beef
Cream – Green Valley Dairy Picton, Eveleigh Markets
Oranges – Eveleigh Markets, locally grown
Wine for Chicken Sauce – 2007 Robert Stein Gewurztraminer Mudgee
Eggs – Egganic, Eveleigh Markets
Buffalo feta and Buffalo mozzarella – Vanella QLD
LabnehGrampa’s Dairy
Trish’s Olive Oil: Rich Glen Olive VIC (to order, contact Trish on plathourakis(at)gmail.com)
My Olive Oil: Kiewa Estate Traditionally Pressed Verdale, Eveleigh Markets

Sydney Secret Dinners

By | Secret Dinner | 11 Comments

UPDATE: Check out the blog entry from the secret dinner that took place on the 25th of July 2009. Click here

————————————————–

Join my Sydney secret dinner party! Saturday the 25th of July. Location? Somewhere in Sydney.

Have you heard about secret dinners? Do you know what they are about? Have you been to one? Do you want to come to mine? Of course you do.

Secret dinners are a cool concept. A diverse group of people, most do not know each other, sign up to be part of a secret dinner. The date is set, but the place is unknown. Some take place in the great outdoors, some in a city car park or a rooftop, others in private homes. One day before the event, the location is disclosed, and the diners find their way to the dinner site. Diners pay for the produce, provide assistance if required, have a good time and then help clean up.

Myself and a bunch of talented foodies are throwing a secret dinner on Saturday the 25th of July, somewhere in the Sydney area..

Theme: Five courses of beautifully inspired dishes from the Lebanon and the Meditarranean
Produce: Top quality, seasonal produce from local farmers and growers (Thirlmere Poultry, Highlands Heritage Pork, Willowbrae Goat’s Cheese, Eumundi Smokehouse smoked goods, etc…)
How many: 30 people
Spots available: 0 left
How much: $45 to $50, depending on how much it costs for produce and venue. You will not be paying me for the dinner, but rather contributing to the cost of your meal. You will just be reimbursing me for the costs I incur.
Why so much: It’s more than reasonable for a 6 course meal, and we are paying top dollar for the best produce, no expense is spared. This is not for profit, all the money goes on produce, so if we have the cash, we’ll get some caviar and truffles, why not?
Wine: You’ll have to bring your own, as we don’t have a licence to serve, and don’t want to be responsible for you.
Location: Big Secret, but either inner city or inner west.
Who: Obviously me, my foodie friends, and whoever passes the test by sending an interesting registration email. Spots are dwindling so be quick.
Responsibility: We will be using top quality produce and following proper food handling practices, but you are responsible for yourself. No liability falls on me or my friends. I’m sure you understand.

Register your interest today. Send an email to secretdinners(at)thefoodblog.com.au. Groups of 3 or less accepted, to allow for socialisation. Obviously, replace (at) with @

What are you waiting for? Be brave 🙂