Could it be August? Could that be true? I write to you from makeshift office #3billionandfiftyfour, somewhere in Chicago, where the black-rimmed glasses outnumber the Macbook Pros JUST BARELY. The coffee is good. The walls are exposed brick. The crew is at a farm dinner in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The weather is cooler than usual for this time of year.
Speaking of the crew…well, did I mention that it’s August? And, well, we’ve been doing farm dinners since May now, with a mostly different crew than last year, and it’s about time you got to know them. They’re great. Quite different than last year, but as Jim says, “we don’t talk about past tours.” Maybe we can add to the list of things we don’t talk about the fact that I haven’t written a blog post in about four months. Let’s put this all behind us, folks! Together, now! In the spirit of summer!
One major new development is that we have our tour bus back. Have you ever seen our tour bus? It’s pretty hard to miss…
Our 1953 red and white Flxible has been moving across the country with us, making its first appearances outside of California since 2008 and attracting unquantifiable amounts of attention. Literally, so much attention that one of our crew members recently got a tattoo on his wrist that depicts the bus, complete with text below that reads: “It’s a ‘53”. We field this question at least five times a day.
But, enough rambling. Without further ado, our 2013 traveling farm dinner crew:
Jim Denevan, Founder
Jim never needs much of an introduction. If you don’t already know, he’s the founder of Outstanding in the Field and the artistic eye behind most decisions that affect the company. He’s the one who looks at a farm from front to back and decides the exact placement of the long table. He also draws for miles in the sand and on frozen lakes in Siberia and on salt flats. He’s also a chef, a surfer, and an avid reader of the New York Times.
Leah Scafe, Director
Leah is our director, and I’m pretty sure, is not actually human. No human can manage the amount of work that Leah takes on while still maintaining time to drink craft beer in bars across the country or send me articles about heirloom garlic. Leah organizes the majority of our farm dinners, seeks out chefs and farmers across the country to participate in events and puts the little puzzle pieces together seamlessly.
Anna Gelb, Event Coordinator
That would be me. This is my second season with Outstanding in the Field, and this time I’m on the event planning side of things. I organize 1/3 of the dinners, travel with the crew from time to time, mess around in InDesign when it is and isn’t necessary and answer a lot of emails.
Kara Patt, Front of House Manager
Kara is our lovely front of house manager! She has a Masters degree in food studies from NYU and years of experience in the restaurant world. She is responsible for organizing our rowdy staff (and extra hired staff all around the country) and making sure our dinners run smoothly.
Niki Heber, Expediter
Niki is our only other returning staff member from last year! As our expeditor, Niki acts as the link between our guest chefs and our service staff. He is originally from Iowa, but was working and living in Minneapolis prior to tour.
Karl Holl, Service Member and Bus Driver
Karl with a K is a guest favorite. He often gets loud standing ovations. Before joining up with Outstanding in the Field, Karl was the chef de cuisine at Perbacco Restaurant in San Francisco. Karl hails from Vermont but has lived and cooked all over the country.
Jimmy Serlin, Service Member and Bus Driver
Jimmy runs our service station, and educates our staff about wine and beer. Jimmy is originally from New York, but has been cooking in restaurants all over since then, most recently at Perbacco in San Francisco with Karl. Both Karl and Jimmy don’t plan to shave their facial hair all farm dinner tour.
Ilana Pulda, Social Media Director
Ilana handles all of our social media. She’s a pretty awesome food photographer, so all the photos you see on our instagram account are taken by her. Ilana grew up in Seattle and went to school at the Culinary Institute of America.
Christina Giordani, Service Member
Christina hails from Thousand Oaks, California and before joining OITF, worked internationally with farmers and ranchers on land management issues and community organization and marketing. She is also our professional table shimmer, or in non-farm dinner speak, leveler!