A new supper club comes to town: The Secret Table
There's a new underground dining party in town. It's called the Secret Table and it's poised to kick off its inaugural dinner Saturday evening at an Italian-style villa in Hancock Park that was built in 1928. A nine-course meal prepared by Secret Table founders and sisters Lisa and Michelle Fielding will be served under the stars (weather permitting, but a tent has been secured in case of rain).
And while it's true that Los Angeles has no dearth of off-the-grid supper clubs and parties that are exclusive to town or pass through regularly (the Ghetto Gourmet; A Razor, A Shiny Knife; the Silver Lake Supper Club; and Chicks With Knives all come to mind, among others); the women behind the Secret Table plan to distinguish themselves by sticking to classic European cooking.
"You won't find us using liquid nitrogen on anything," jokes Lisa.
Still they're not afraid of stepping out of bounds from time to time, and admit that their influences come from all over.
"If we're making an Italian fish soup, ours will be a bit more like a French fish soup because it will have saffron and fennel," says Lisa. "We're so familiar with both traditions that we can mix it up."
Raised in a jet-setting family, the sisters grew up in Germany, Beirut and Tokyo before finishing off high school in Sacramento. After that Michelle lived in Paris for 12 years where she attended Le Cordon Bleu. In the meantime Lisa made a name for herself as a creative executive for the film business before devoting herself to writing. She soon found she needed a social outlet (writing being a solitary pursuit), so in 2009 she started a catering company called Secret Ingredients. Michelle soon joined her in the company, lending her culinary skills.
On the menu for Saturday night's dinner, which includes wine pairings: zucchini flowers stuffed with honeyed goat cheese with clove-infused pumpkin jam; beggar's purses of sherried Dungeness crab; garganelli sauced with English pea and tarragon puree; roasted artichoke hearts, fava beans, baby asparagus and mini crouton; a palate cleanser; Cabernet-braised short ribs on silken Gorgonzola polenta; or classic Italian seafood brodetto with saffron and fennel, crostini and aioli; arugula and radish salad with Champagne vinaigrette; a cheese course; Dobos mocha tortes and pumpkin mousse profiteroles; coffee, port and cognac.
Dinners to follow include a meal in a commercial kitchen on Nov. 13; a Dec. 11 dinner at the Malibu home and horse ranch of a popular television director; and a "Babette's Feast-type dinner" in the Hollywood Hills on New Year's Eve.
-- Jessica Gelt
Photo: Tomatoes stuffed with eggs. Credit: Secret Ingredients