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Outstanding in All Fields

Mon, 07/24/2023 - 13:43
Suki Waterhouse, an actress and musician, was one of the guests at the Outstanding in the Field dinner at Fireplace Farm in Springs last Thursday.
Jennifer Landes

The organization Outstanding in the Field held a dinner recently at Fireplace Farm in Springs. The wine was provided by the New Zealand winery Cloudy Bay. The food (with produce exclusively from Amber Waves) for 120 people was prepared by Jason Weiner of Almond, a man who knows how to handle a wingding in a field. Along with a number of other renowned local chefs, Mr. Weiner has prepared dishes for Quail Hill's At the Common Table for decades.

This event was considerably different from At the Common Table, which is more rustic, more diverse in age, and in the past had Scott Chaskey, poet and former grand poobah of Quail Hill, climb an orchard ladder to recite poetry between courses.

This Outstanding in the Field was by invitation, the publicity lure was the presence of Suki Waterhouse, the actress and musician. (Check her out in "Daisy Jones and the Six." She is outstanding. In her field.) The guests were 97 percent young women, there were oodles of photographers and videographers, and each place setting had an oyster shell painted gold on the outside, opalescent white on the inside with guests names drawn in wedding calligraphy. Gorgeous. The invitation to this dinner also included a "mood board" to help you figure out how to dress "garden party chic." Oh, honeys, I was BORN garden party chic, I am the OG of GPC.

Jason Weiner, the executive chef of Almond restaurant, exuded nonchalance as he led a team preparing the dinner in an open-air tent for 120 guests. Laura Donnelly

I was also, without a doubt, the oldest person there and didn't recognize a soul. So what do I do? Go bother my chef buddies, because, hey, they're not too busy to chat as they prepare a five-course meal for 120 gals and it's hotter than pearls in a pawn shop!

The meal began with Amber Waves Farm summer squash variations with cracked wheat pitas. These pitas were being prepared by Jack "Adonis in an Apron" Formica with a portable pizza oven. Then there was beautiful tuna: crudo and cured, with fermented carrot dressing and caraflex cabbage.

Sadly, my editor and I could not stay for the next two courses as we had booked an Uber in advance to return us to Sag Harbor and there's no cell reception in Springs, so we couldn't change our departure time and we spent about 25 minutes searching for a WiFi spot in the beautiful rolling fields of Fireplace Farm on Gardiner's Bay. 

A very long table was set in the waterfront field in Springs last Thursday for the Outstanding in the Field dinner served with Cloudy Bay wine and produce from Amber Waves. Jennifer Landes

Outstanding in the Field events are meant to last 4-5 hours. They were started by the artist Jim Denevan in 1999 "as a radical alternative to the conventional dining experience," according to the website. "Rather than source ingredients for a restaurant, we bring our restaurant to the source." This "culinary caravan" has since been to all 50 states and 16 countries with "tables set in vineyards, beaches, meadows, fishing docks, and city streets."

I wish we could have stayed for wood-roasted scallops with kohlrabi chowder and Foster's Farm potato chips, as well as the mignardises (bite-sized desserts) around the fire. Everything we tried was so delicious.

There are two upcoming ticketed events, again at Fireplace Farm. On Sept. 9, Elaia Estiatorio will be in the field's kitchen. That one is sold out, but there is a waiting list. On Sept. 10, a Sunday, Mr. Weiner will return as event chef. Tickets, as of this writing, were still available, but will also likely sell out.

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