The whole idea behind Outstanding in the Field is to bring the table (and your own dinner plate) to the farm and reconnect people with the origins of their food, as well as to honor the local farmers, cheese and winemakers, fisherman and food artisans who cultivate it.
Jim Denevan, the founder and organizer of this worldwide moveable feast, has his guests come from near and very, very far away. Outstanding in the Field is sort of what you’d call: a restaurant without walls, with over 100 guests indulging in the finest cuisine.
Sometimes the event is held on the shoreline, with breaking waves crashing so close to your table that your feet get wet. On other occasions you’ll be on a mountaintop, submerged within a vineyard or greenhouse, sitting alongside a barn, or perched above the city lights on an urban rooftop.
The possibilities are endless and it is often times even an adventure just to get to the dinner table.
After a tour of the site, everyone comes together: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners to share one long communal table, which is a work of art in itself. Denevan is utterly obsessed with the placement, environment and aesthetics of the long, curved dinner table. He works to create a scene that becomes a transient work of art, combining the structures of his surroundings, the ground below his feet and lines of the horizon to create depth in the landscape.
A land artist first, when Devevan isn’t throwing these extravagant one-night-only dinner parties, the majority of his time is spent surfing in Santa Cruz or drawing patterns into the earth and photographing them before they succumb to nature’s energy.
Ingredients used for every meal are almost always local, with the majority of them sourced within inches of your seat! A celebrated chef of the region is even called upon to prepare meals that leave lasting impressions on the palettes of each and every guest. “The guest chef is the ambassador of place,” says Denevan. Whatever is in season that particular week is what gets cooked. Each course is served family-style. A server brings the food to your table and then the dishes get passed around.
This creative team then packs everything up into their red and white bus to do it all over again, only in a different location. So far, they have crossed North America eight times, and gone as far as Alaska and Florence, Italy.
Check out the 2014 North American Tour here and don’t miss out on your opportunity to experience this one-of-a-kind event.