Outstanding In The Field Back In BC For Two Feasts On Two Farms

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Very excited about heading up to Pemberton next month for the ultimate in traveling gastronomic roadshows, Outstanding in the Field. One of my favourite chefs in the province, James Walt of Araxi, will be prepping the five course feast. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to make the one the very next day at UBC Farm with Andrea Carlson of Bishop’s cooking, but I’m crossing my fingers. I’ve experienced the long table at UBC before, and will always remember it as one of the best al fresco dining experiences of my life!

Full details on both and a little history on OITF after the leap…

From a recent email from OITF:

July dinners planned at UBC Farm in Vancouver and North Arm Farm in Pemberton Valley near Whistler

Outstanding in the Field, a group of culinary vagabonds who stage white-tablecloth dinners in farm fields across North America, is coming once again to Vancouver’s UBC Farm. The group also will visit the Whistler area for a dinner at North Arm Farm in Pemberton Valley.

On Saturday, July 18, Outstanding in the Field sets its long table at North Arm Farm where farmer Jordan Sturdy, who also is Pemberton’s Mayor, will be the host for the evening. Working out of an al fresco kitchen, Chef James Walt of Whistler’s Araxi Restaurant will prepare the five-course feast.

On Sunday, July 19, Outstanding returns to UBC Farm in Vancouver for its fourth dinner there. Andrea Carlson of Bishop’s Restaurant is guest chef for the UBC dinner. “We love city farms, and UBC’s fields have been the site of some of our fondest memories,” said Outstanding founder Jim Denevan.”We are very excited about our newest event in Pemberton Valley and look forward to creating new memories there.”

2009 marks Outstanding in the Field’s 10th year of shining the spotlight on the people who work hard to produce our good food. “Even in the midst of economic difficulty, or perhaps because of it, people are more eager than ever to get out to the farm, see where their food comes from, and sit down at the table with the farmers and food artisans who cultivated it,” said Denevan.

Outstanding in the Field dinners begin with a tour of the host farm. Then guests sit down at Denevan’s signature table — a long, linen-draped expanse set between the soil and the sky. During dinner, the host farmer and other local food producers who provided ingredients for the meal share the table with the guests and talk about where the food on the plate came from and what it takes to get it there.

Back in the ’90s, Jim Denevan held “Farmers Nights” at Gabriela Cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif, where he was executive chef. One night he thought: instead of bringing farmers into the restaurant, why not take people out to the farm? The first Outstanding in the Field farm dinner was in 1999, and Denevan took the concept on the road in 2003.

Denevan views Outstanding dinners as art installations, taking great care in laying out the long table to complement each individual site. Not surprising, because Jim also is an artist of a different sort — check out his large-scale drawings in the sand here. Both the dinners and Jim’s beach art are transitory — the lines in the sand disappear as the tide rises and the waves sweep them away; the dinner at the farm becomes a wonderful sensory memory that makes a lingering imprint on the diner’s mind.

Cost for the July 18 and 19 Outstanding in the Field dinners are $200 CAD, which includes wine paired to each course throughout the meal. Start time for both dinners is 4pm.

For more information and to make reservations, please visit www.outstandinginthefield.com.

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