Food, of course, brings people together; for much of civilization, celebratory gatherings have centered around it. And this is precisely what chef Mike Moore—of the Asheville-based The Blind Big—depends upon for his pop-up supper club
Once you become a member of the club, you are secretly informed of these events, held at various locations throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. Moore brings together notable chefs from various establishments to create an one-of-a-kind prix fixe served in a random location. I recently attended one in Raleigh, on the Friday just ahead of Valentine's Day. The dinner—dubbed "Being Abe Lincoln"—featured five of the president's favorite ingredients. It was his birthday.
The chefs—Steve Goff (head butcher at Raleigh's Standard Foods
), Joe Marple (executive chef at Asheville's Southern Kitchen & Bar
), Andrew Ullom (executive pastry chef at Raleigh’s AC Restaurant Group
), and Moore himself—crafted a menu centered around apples, dates, oysters, corn, bacon, and ginger bread. It began with a dish of kimchi, apple butter, rye, apple vinegar, pickled onion, pork butter, and mustard before made its way through a Chesapeake oyster cake with Johnston County country ham and a leek-and-oyster liquor cream plate. It ended with a gingerbread cookie.
Being Abe Lincoln took place at Union Camp Collective
, a three-pronged venture that is part antique-goods thrift shop, part event space, and part creative co-op. Nestled off Capital Blvd, where there's mostly warehouses, the converted garage turned out to be the ideal space. It was like a wedding reception without the wedding. Local notable raconteur Eddie Taylor, of The Loners and Cousins, was on the ones-and-twos, keeping the atmosphere festive. Conversations with complete strangers turned captivating.
These supper clubs aren't all just about good times. Moore brings these chefs together for a cause—this time, to raise money for A Place At The Table
, a pay-what-you-can cafe offering healthy food selections for those short on cash.
The next Raleigh appearance by Moore and his Blind Pig Supper Club will be March 26th—a CBGB-themed event, I'm told.