Tasting Collective hits Nashville Food Scene
Tasting Collective is a national group that throws special pop-up dinner parties that allow patrons to experience the food of some of their favorite local chefs while listening to informal presentations that explain the inspirations behind the dishes. Originated in New York City to help fill restaurants and their private dining rooms on otherwise slow nights, Tasting Collective has expended to multiple cities, including Austin, Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, and now Nashville.
A recent Nashville Scene article recounts the philosophy behind the organization and how they use diner surveys to help participating chefs and restaurants refine the dishes and their menus. Tasting Collective has more than 4000 members nationwide, with plans to expand to a dozen cities in the next year. The first official Nashville Tasting Collective event was a six-course dinner presented in two seatings by chef Jake Howell of Peninsula. Howell offered exotic Iberian dishes that might someday end up on his eclectic menu after he reviews the feedback from guest surveys.
The second special Tasting Collective dinner was held on Sunday, April 14, when chef/owner John Stephenson and his exec chef Joey Molteni of Hathorne in West Nashville presented a six-course menu of inventive American cuisine. The dinner was served family-style with individually plated desserts. To give you an example of the sort of remarkable menus you can expect if you attend a Tasting Collective event, here’s what Hathorne served:
Warm Napa Cabbage
with onion, carrot, blue cheese and burnt bread
Spring Bean "Amandine"
with hazelnut, brown butter powder and charred lemon
Seared Pork Belly
with red cabbage and beer puree, favas and celery jus
Grilled Acorn Squash
with leek, fennel, fried almonds, kasseri and ash
with melted vidalia, apricot, and smoked asparagus
with lemon curd, black lemon and sorghum
Tasting Collective is a membership-based group, but your membership entitles you to invite up to three guests with you to a dinner, and individual spots at the table are only $50/person. Organizers are actively planning future events, so If this interests you, check out the Tasting Collective website for membership information and details of upcoming dinners.