A dinner party in the backyard might be entertaining enough for many guests but those seeking more unusual experiences should check the event lineup of the nomadic culinary organizer Outstanding in the Field. The group’s leadership describes it as a roving restaurant without walls and those al fresco settings this year have included vineyards, beaches, mountaintops, farms and fishing docks in locations around the U.S., Canada, Italy and France. Upcoming events in November are going farther afield with the first events in Africa and an outdoor restaurant with rooms arrangement: glamping on the California coastline at Big Sur.
The company, which has been transporting diners around the world since 1999, is the brainchild of founder Jim Denevan who decided to flip the script on the dining experience: instead of sourcing ingredients for a restaurant, bringing the restaurant to the source, adding a dash of adventure alongside. It ties into his devotion to natural surroundings as a land artist, creating large scale sand drawings such as a recent one in the Saudi Arabia desert destination Alula. Each of the events is carefully curated with the tables integrated into the environment, whether to catch a sunset going over a hill, have a toast in the golden hour of natural light or line up with the curve of a coastline or a view of the mountains. That has led, according to Denevan, to a growing diversity among their guests and a willingness to go to remote locations.
This year, the locations will include an event in Accra, Ghana on November 11th. The setting is the Mango Orchard at Hendy Farms, other guests include members of the art world in Ghana and the chef is Fatmata Binta, winner of the 2022 Basque Culinary World Prize, cooking modern interpretations of West African cuisine. A few days before, on November 5th, the group’s first event in Africa takes place at the Kleinood Farm & Winery in Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Cape Winelands. Surrounded by acres of Syrah, Viognier, Roussanne and Mourvedre vines along with Tuscan olive trees, mushrooms, wild fennel and sage, the contemporary, live fire focused, four course South African menu will be created by chef Jenny Ward of Cape Town’s Makers Landing, a gastronomic marketplace and incubator of culinary talent. Following on November 19th, in another part of Africa, an afternoon event surrounded by olive trees is taking place in Fes, Morocco at the Noor Fes Olive Estate with a menu created by Mike Richardson of the famed Café Clock restaurants in Fes, Marrakech and the blue city of Chefchaouen.
Closer to the company’s headquarters in Santa Cruz, California, other upcoming events in that state include dinners at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, the Flying Disc Ranch just outside of Palm Springs, Tuna Harbor Dock in San Diego and an as yet undisclosed location for the two night glamping event hilltop in Big Sur on November 5th and 6th. Then as the temperatures drop, January and February events are scheduled in Mexico, the Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii and Arizona apart from California. Tickets go on sale November 1st.