In 1999, when Jim Denevan came up with the idea for Outstanding in the Field, a roving "restaurant without walls" held on farms throughout the country, "pop-up" referred almost exclusively to children's books and the farm-to-table movement was more or less embryonic. Fifteen years, 600-plus events, 45 states, and nine countries later, it has been barn again.
Denevan's once-quixotic mission to bring together diners with the people who grow and make their food has proven prophetic, and shows no signs of slowing down. OitF's new season, which kicks off May 18, will travel coast to coast after a series of dinners throughout California, the first of which will be held at Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport. Cooks will include Plum's Kim Alter, TBD's Mark Liberman, Tosca's Josh Even, Perbacco's Staffan Terje, and Ravi Kapur, the erstwhile Liholiho Yacht Club pop-up chef who is currently preparing to open an honest-to-goodness restaurant.
Below is the roster of dinners; while some are sold out, many still have seats available. Check out the Outstanding in the Field website for more information.
May 18~ Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport Host farmer: Barrett Boaen / Guest chef: Jim Denevan, OITF founder
May 24 ~ Devil's Gulch Ranch, Nicasio, west Marin Host farmers: Mark & Myriam Pasternak / Guest chef: Francis Hogan, Bluestem Brasserie, San Francisco
May 25 ~ Devil's Gulch Ranch, Nicasio, west Marin Host farmers: Mark & Myriam Pasternak / Guest chef: Kim Alter, Plum, Oakland
June 1 ~ Split Rock Springs Ranch, Cloverdale, northern Sonoma Host farmers: Glen Lajeski & Gerry Etcheverry / Guest chef: Mark Liberman, QAQ and TBD, San Francisco
June 11~ Popelouchum - Bonny Doon's new estate vineyard, San Juan Bautista Host vintner: Randall Grahm / Guest chef: Josh Even, Tosca Cafe, San Francisco
June 15 ~ Everett Family Farm, Soquel Host farmers: Rich & Laura Everett / Guest chef: Ravi Kapur (Llholiho Yacht Club, currently working on a brick-and-mortar opening)
July 6 ~ On the beach at the Secret Sea Cove, San Mateo County coast Host fisherfolk: Hans & Heidi Haveman of H&H Fresh Fish / Guest chef: Staffan Terje, Perbacco, San Francisco