chef deborah vantrece brings global soul to outstanding in the field this fall


Imagine it: the middle of a field on the edge of a flourishing farm. Dappled sunshine, overarching sunflowers, and that iconic, gently curving table clad in white linens beautifully set for more than 200 diners. Outstanding in the Field is coming to Atlanta and Chef Deborah VanTrece is leading the charge for a memorable harvest feast this October.

Since 1999, Outstanding in the Field has set up their signature table in fields, vineyards, mountainsides, orchards, and even seashores, inviting food lovers to celebrate the hardworking hands that come together to feed us. Founder Jim Denevan held his first dinner on his brother’s farm. That humble event led to a seasonal series that has been held in all 50 states and 16 countries to date.

Traditionally, Outstanding in the Field chefs create a meal that is hyper seasonal, using the freshest possible ingredients from the farm where the dinner is held and the local area. A team of local farmers, fisher people, beekeepers, cheesemakers, butchers, vintners, and or brewers come together for a spontaneous feast.

VanTrece’s dinner will take place on Mayflor Farms in Stockbridge, 20 miles south of Atlanta. The two are a perfect fit. VanTrece’s earlier career had her traveling the world for 25 years as a flight attendant. Her Westside restaurant Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours is an ode to soul food inspired by the global soul food she encountered on her journeys. Oxtails are glazed with Asian hoisin sauce and accented by bok choy and ginger. Using a native American technique, she smokes salmon belly for salmon bacon and serves it with lemon risotto and brussels sprouts. Pork chops are brined with chile and accompanied with Chinese long beans.

Long beans, a couple of varieties even, part of the “strange Asian produce” farmer Chris Edwards grows at Mayflor. Their stand at local farmers markets always includes interesting farm products that stand out from the crowd—things like loofa, wing beans, tulsi, bitter melon, and Egyptian spinach. Edwards is farm manager and business partner with namesake of the farm Mayflor Chokshi. He studied ethno botany and she is a registered nurse and hatha yoga instructor. Both believe health begins with high quality food. Together, the three – Mayflor, Edwards, and VanTrece – will feed body and soul at this unforgettable event.

What can you expect? Outstanding in the Field is a singular experience. You will exist in place with these people for a brief but unforgettable moment in time. The entire event lasts between 4 and 5 hours, beginning with a cocktail reception. There will be a tour of the farm while the meal is being prepared. Outstanding in the Field brings their kitchen and staff for a professional, albeit unconventional experience. The menu is revealed at the table and the meal is served family style. Wine pairings (and sometimes beer) are presented with each course. Those who provided the ingredients will be sitting along the table, offering their expertise and stories of their craft.

With expert technique and flavor profiles, chef VanTrece will cook up a soulful meal worthy of harvest celebration. On Mayflor Farms 11 acres there are  free roaming chickens, happy cows and honeybees. At different times of year their crops produce collards, many types of kale, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, beets, radishes, parsnips, scallions, hibiscus, patty pan squash, watermelon, lemongrass, herbs, beans, and berries. The farm is certified naturally grown and they supply renowned restaurants like Wrecking Bar, Empire State South, and 8Arm as well as Whole Foods and Sevananda markets.

We can only imagine the memorable feast chef VanTrece is envisioning for this “roving restaurant without walls.” Watching the sunset on a farm with a couple hundred friends at a curving dining table while eating her food sounds magic enough.

Tickets are now available to purchase here for the October 10th event beginning at 3 PM.


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