Imagine it. You purchase a ticket to a dinner event, not knowing the menu. Not knowing the location. Not knowing the entertainment. Knowing only the date and the time and the chefs involved. Good thing you have a healthy sense of adventure!
This is the concept for The Legend Series, a new underground dining series that will feature the best chefs in our region along with a rotating array of artists, musicians and performers. Chef Scotty Schwartz from 29 South and I devised the series after one too many brunchtime cocktails at Orsay one afternoon. I’m producing the events in conjunction with some awesomely talented local restaurant peeps (holla Allan & Crystal!) and Scotty and my other chef buddies (more on them soon).
In January, forty willing subjects attended the inaugural event in The Legend Series. The morning of the event they received an email outlining the location and all converged on Riverside’s Intuition Ale Works that evening, just before sundown.
But preparations had been taking place months in advance. You know how Restaurant Wars is one of the hardest challenges for contestants of Top Chef? Conceptualizing an entire restaurant, building a menu, setting it up, executing, pleasing customers and breaking it all down… all in a single day?
That’s what The Legend Series is like. Only on crack.
We were lucky with our first venue that we had such luxurious amenities as electricity and toilets.
For future events we are not going to be so lucky. We’ll truly be off the grid at the next event.
The morning of the first Legends event Crystal Vessels (miss you!) and I arrived early to the brewery to set up the table. Soon we were joined by Annie, Nicole, Linds, Jason & Macky. They polished glassware and did a myriad other activities to make sure we were ready for dinner service.
Crystal gave directions. And contemplated the seating arrangement.
While I helped set the table.
The entertainment for the evening was my friend Philip Pan, violinist and Concertmaster of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. He composed a music piece inspired by each of the five courses we enjoyed that evening.
Photographer Jensen Hande took portraits of the chefs whenever he could grab them from their work the kitchen.