It started with an invitation to cook at an underground dinner party. In Copenhagen. In a graffiti covered venue. It ended with an epic feast, a mini-batmobile, and a delicious exchange of cultures. Jordan went way underground this summer and tells us the tale.
Where was the event and how did it speak to the theme of The Refined Ghetto:
The event was set up by Silver Spoon, a company in Denmark that throws guerrilla dining events. This dinner was called “The Refined Ghetto” and was an event inspired by the cultural influences of R&B/soul. It was an unlikely place for a dinner. Set in a soon-to-be demolished venue covered in graffiti murals, it spoke to the type of environment where underground art and music movements are built. Street art, underground dining, and hip-hop all have a grass-roots quality to them.
The dinner is being set in an urban warehouse, covered in graffiti. What parallels do you draw with underground dining and underground street art?
I have a lot of friends in that scene, hip-hop and graffiti. They started out doing what they were passionate about and soon found a community of people who felt the same way. It turned into something bigger. Now, some of them are getting hired to work on commissions in fashion and architectural settings. I think it is all about sharing what you are interested in and connecting with your community. We’ve done that at Stag Dining. We started sharing our passion for food and friendship with our Clandestine Dinner Series, throwing intimate dinner parties in unique locations. Now, Stag Dining has grown into corporate catering, weddings, private parties but we always return to the community of sharing with the Clandestine Dinner Series.
What did you cook up?
The menu was classic southern cooking with added layers of complexity. Southern US cuisine is a type of food not normally served in Copenhagen and speaks to many of the same communities that gave us hip hop and R&B music. It was an extremely playful menu, for example, the fried chicken was actually fried quail and the corn dogs were made with sweet breads.
Sweet Tea Crudo/ charred scallop, lemon gel, celery heart, pickled watermelon, charred pepper, basil, lemon balm
Sweetbread Corn Dog/ pimento cheese, pickled mustard seeds, roasted alliums, deviled egg, onion sprouts
Yaka Mein/ poached egg, brisket, lobster, old bay broth, fried okra, green onion, egg noodle
Chicken Fried Quail/ johnny cake, ham hock greens, popped sorghum, honey butter, sorrel
Alabama Lamb Steak/ chow chow, black eyed pea fritters, young braising greens, cilantro
Coca-Cola Cake/ cherries, chocolate cremeaux, hyssop, vanilla meringue, tarragon, almond-cocoa crumble
WHAT IS THAT?
This was my ride in Copenhagen, the mini-batmobile. Its real name is Ape50 (ah-pay) the ape 50 is what we referred to it as, which originally sounded to me like 850. So I was expecting an 850cc motorcycle until they showed me one. Definitely not a motorcycle and I think it was the only one in Copenhagen because I started getting recognized when shopping in the marketplaces.
Final thoughts on guerrilla dining across the pond?:
I went out there for the same reason I usually travel, to experience new cultures, food and broaden my ability to communicate through cooking or even just personal interaction. On this culinary journey, it was very cool that I got to offer that back to the place I was visiting.
I would like to thank:
Founder of Silver.Spoon – Tiffany Ng
Production Manager- Katja Seerup Clausen
William Milstead- He was so helpful to me, letting me borrow an iPad, his Ape50, his time and resources both in the kitchen for many hours and outside assisting in purveying equipment and product needed for this production. He is a chef from Copenhagen who has a small business that does events similar to Stag, and often produces events with Silver Spoon.