Recently I was approached by Serena Chow, who holds the awww-factor title of being my first ever kitchen intern, about an exciting opportunity to host a Fall Harvest Pop-Up Dinner at Sweet Revenge. I immediately jumped on board that pumpkin laden bandwagon :). I invited Serena and her fellow chef boyfriend David Fisher to discuss their brilliant idea over breakfast at my restaurant & wine bar.
A bit of background on Serena: she and I originally crossed paths at Sweet Revenge nearly 7 years ago when she was one of my lovely patrons when I first opened. Later (in her words) she became my stalker. As a student at NYU back then, she studied for a semester in Italy and had her Eat, Pray, Love experience with gelato and pasta. When she returned, she easily convinced me to take her on as an intern in the kitchen so she could match her enthusiasm with real-world work. She was a star from her earliest days and went from unpaid intern to full-time paid chef over the course of about a year. Her natural talent, intelligence-in-action, and passion turned me into her champion. I encouraged her to attend pastry school. Her parents insisted she graduate from NYU first. As soon as she checked that box, she attended the prestigious French Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center). She has amassed impressive experience working at Quality Meats, for Angela Pinkerton at the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, as pastry chef at Pearl & Ash and is currently rocking it with exquisite desserts as the Pastry Chef of Kat & Theo here in NYC.
During my breakfast meeting with Serena & David, I learned about David’s impressive culinary resume (has worked at 3 Michelin starred restaurants! Jean-Georges, Aldea & Aquavit!), graduated from Johnson & Wales and got his start at his family’s restaurant slinging and perfecting grilled cheese at age 13. He is the Chef de Cuisine at Kat & Theo making artfully presented savory dishes. I learned about Serena & David’s success hosting two other pop-up dinners. They proposed to me their most ambitious menu, a 14-course extravaganza with seasonally inspired flavors and ingredients. We hashed out a tentative time-line and big picture to-dos.
A week later they sent a drool-worthy menu, and we met again to discuss. They tantalized me with ingredient details for each of the tasting course, and we determined how each dish would be plated. Serena and I met this past Sunday morning to brainstorm initial marketing for the event (poster, facebook event page, ticket product page on Sweet Revenge Shop.com). Bleary eyed from the prior night’s 1am close from her dinner shift, I coaxed Serena back into the land of the living with 2 redeyes, and we got clear on this week’s tactical to do’s. With the help of her dear and talented friend, Serena mocked up three poster options. We picked one design and sorted out changes today. I put together the Sweet Revenge Facebook events page and ticket page on SweetRevengeShop.com.
Next up: complete the poster’s final edits, print it at Kinko’s and put it up at Sweet Revenge®!
A working brunch is on the horizon, along with more than a few double espressos for Serena & David as we hammer out reaching out to the editorial community, spreading the word on all of our collective social media and doing an e-newsletter. Stay tuned for the next delicious update as we continue to plan for the first ever Fall Harvest Pop-Up Dinner at my restaurant and wine bar!
“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” Og Mandino
Cheers to Fall!