Once Upon a Table
By Richard Nahem, Eye Prefer Paris, December 2012
Ever since The Hidden Kitchen launched in 2007, the concept of community dining with strangers has taken Paris by storm. Similar types of events have sprung up all over the city and many new cafes, restaurants, and coffee bars have long, community tables, begging you to not quite love thy neighbor, but at least possibly strike up a conversation with them.
I was invited to the newest version of this concept last week called Once Upon a Table and it took place on a sleekly converted barge on the Seine on the Quai Montebello in the Latin Quarter. I arrived near 8PM and found most of the 13 participants mingling on the deck of the boat. I was first struck by the awesome night view of Notre Dame all lit up. [...]
The thing that sets apart Once Upon a Table is that it gives an historical background about the foods you are tasting and how certain popular dishes came to be what they are today. [...]
Max, who was our chef for the evening, trained with Alain Passard at l’Arpege, and Laserre with Christopher Moret, and currently works at the George V hotel. His highly regarded training grounds have paid off handsomely, because the food was excellent, well executed, and thoughtfully prepared. Each course was special and could stand on its own yet the combination of the flavors and courses worked terrific together for a well rounded, satisfying dining experience. I see a bright future for this talented chef. [...]
This was a fun and educational experience and I highly recommend Once Upon a Table if you want an out of the ordinary dining event.
For now dinners are scheduled on Monday nights, which is great because many of the better restaurants close on Monday.