Innovation That Matters

Open restaurant night showcases aspiring chefs

Food & Drink

Photos by philafoodie
If the underground restaurant known as Charlie’s Burgers departs from the norm in part through its secrecy and its constantly changing venue, Open ChefAMe is in some ways its opposite, featuring instead the creations of different aspiring chefs at each of its well-publicized monthly events. Through the participation of a few Philadelphia restaurants, Open ChefAMe offers what it calls an “open mic night” for local aspiring chefs on one Monday each month. The chosen culinary talents for each event get to pick the menu for a three-course meal, take over the kitchen at the participating restaurant and then cook dinner for a crowd. The dinner in May, for example, featured the talents of local food blogger Felicia D’Ambrosio and pastry arts student Alyssa Shilliday; the menu included sweet corn soup with chives and bacon garnish, gougéres with dry-cured ham, watercress and Dijon cream, Moroccan spiced braised lamb shoulder with lentils and minted yoghurt, Thai watermelon soup, sake-poached halibut with marinated cucumber salad, and Korean style skirt steak with pears. The next event—the fourth so far—will be on July 27; tickets are USD 35. (Open ChefAMe is accepting menus until July 3rd at 5:00pm.) After each event Open ChefAMe donates more than 25 percent of its profits to at least one charity, chosen by the night’s chefs. It’s not hard to see why aspiring chefs would want to cook for an Open ChefAMe event, since the opportunity would provide both exposure and a chance to try their hand at cooking in a commercial kitchen for a real crowd. For consumers, though, the potential benefits are equally compelling: fabulous food, creatively conceived and delivered; a novel, one-of-a-kind experience sure to inspire status stories aplenty; and the chance to be able to say, “I met [insert chef’s name here] back before she was famous!” Hospitality entrepreneurs: a concept to try out in your hometown? Spotted by: Cass Oryl



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