Photo Credit: Kambria Fischer Photo
“We keep it a mystery because we want people to come in with an expectation and with no expectation at the same time,” says Alexandria Ott, co-founder of The Blank Table secret-spot dinner series (and co-host of SDM’s Not a Parenting Podcast with CEO Claire Johnson). “This is all about humanity and connection. It allows people to let their guard down and experience a certain level of vulnerability.”
Ott and childhood friend, chef Frederick Keller, started The Blank Table in 2018, staging elaborate dinner parties at locations that were only disclosed day-of. What’s different this year is Ott partnered with breakout restaurant group, Be Saha (Tahona, Botanica, Wormwood), who are known for their own creative space-making (Wormwood’s secret-garden patio, their afterlife speakeasy Oculto). Be Saha will handle the entire culinary and cocktail program for three dates for its five-course summer dinner series: June 15, July 27, and August 24.
In the age of informational overload, it’s the unknowing that’s made Blank Table a compelling experience. Every dining room is now illuminated by phone screens, as people select their meals by looking at pictures of strangers’ past experiences on social media. The Blank Table deletes all of that historical bias, and in doing so brings a bit of scarcity and novelty back to a meal out on the town. The menu is a secret and the details of each meal are revealed over the course of each evening.
“I don’t associate the integrity of the event with gatekeeping,” she clarifies. “The integrity of the event lies in the details and the time we invest. If you are seeking adventure and like taking risks, this is for you. If you travel a lot or want a new understanding of how food and drink can be paired in a way you did not expect, this is for you,” she says.
Maintaining integrity also involves avoiding repetition, so for this season, part of the focus is on live entertainment. “There will be elements of performance and art, which we haven’t done before,” says Ott. She says they’re partnering with entertainment institutions, including local artists, to bring music and vibrance to the space.
“It will be the convergence of community, food, and art,” she says. “You will get a full sensorial experience.”
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