You shouldn't need a culinary education to enjoy good food. That's the idea behind Dallas Supper Club, a small, pop-up dinner series started by a 29-year-old software consultant.
"The idea is not to make it exclusive," explains founder and host Sean Granfield. "Anybody and everybody can sit at the table with us."
If only you can get a seat.
At the inaugural Dallas Supper Club in late August, 15 of Granfield's friends and colleagues paid $125 per person to enjoy a three-hour, six-course dinner created by Small Brewpub executive chef Misti Norris and her team.
Some in attendance were in-the-know about wine. Some weren't. Some had tasted goat tartare before. Even more hadn't. Granfield hopes to create an atmosphere at Dallas Supper Club that feels special -- since it is, after all, a pricey event -- without feeling stuffy.
He started the club on a high note, choosing Norris. The former FT33 sous chef is bursting with ideas, and her Dallas Supper Club menu was passionate. She introduced diners to ham that had been cured for eight months and a surprising dessert of burrata and fried green tomatoes. The courses were carefully plated and fun -- an adventure for Dallas Supper Club's earliest adopters.
Why a tech guy sits at the head of the dinner table
Granfield isn't quitting his day job yet. Or ever, maybe; Dallas Supper Club was not created to be a moneymaking venture. He plans to put profits back into the club so he can hire photographers or winemakers or find new venues for future suppers.
And Granfield is digging playing the guy at the head of the table, where he can invite people to eat off-the-menu food from some of Dallas' up and coming chefs.
"I think people make the mistake of saying, 'I love food so I want to open a restaurant,'" Granfield says. "I thought, 'What are my practical skills?' Being in the startup world, I can build a website, I can build a brand.
"I don't have to be the 'food guy' [by training]; I can still build something like this."
His interest in interesting food started early. Grandfield's parents took him on trips overseas as a child, expecting him to eat like they did. "The first time I had frog legs, I was 9," he says. "I had escargot at 10."
As an adult, he and his wife Morgan Granfield have hosted dinner parties at their home, where they'd cook bone marrow or flank steak with chimichurri. They took pleasure in making their friends taste whatever recipe of the moment excited them.
The future of Dallas Supper Club
What will the next few Dallas Supper Clubs be like? It might be too early to tell. Granfield was pleased with the inaugural event in Expo Park, which had undeniably good food, generous pours of wine and a buzzy room full of people chatting about food.
The second dinner on Oct. 15 will feature six courses from Joel Orsini, sous chef at CBD Provisions in downtown Dallas. The $95 per person dinner is already sold out, but the guest list is always open for next time.
Granfield can't say yet who is hosting the third dinner, but he says he's talked with Brian Zenner (On Premise, the Mitchell) and Jeff Harris (formerly of American Food and Beverage, now closed). Most dinners will cost about $100 a person and will be hosted at event spaces and art galleries around Dallas.
"Chefs have said, 'All I want to do is cook,'" Granfield says. Good thing: He's more than happy to host.
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