What was served at The Dinner Party, a 30-chef affair with three seven-course meals

What was served at The Dinner Party, a 30-chef affair with three seven-course meals

Last night, more than 40 women put on a multi-course meal at The Drake Commissary that was also an edible-art installation. For the third time since 2012, chef Alexandra Feswick (The Drake Hotel) enlisted some of the city’s top talent (who also happen to be female) to create collaborative tasting menus inspired by feminist artist Judy Chicago’s seminal work, The Dinner Party. This year’s rendition was co-hosted by the Drake’s curator, Mia Nielsen, who brought on local artists Sandra Brewster, Diane Borsato, Ness Lee and Jennifer Murphy on board to help create the homage to Chicago’s work.

Three separate seven-course meals were served simultaneously, each prepared by a different group of chefs. Diners had no say about which dinner they would be served—it was a lottery:


The paint on Ness Lee’s table runner was barely dry when guests arrived:


There were no table numbers or names on the place settings, forcing guests to find their place at a table—perhaps a cheeky comment on how women in the industry literally have to make room for themselves:


In the kitchen, Alexandra Feswick (The Drake Hote) cooked and plated alongside chefs that included Missy Hui (Fabbrica), Suzanne Barr (Kid Chocolate) and 27 others:


The night flip-flopped hospitality stereotypes by having an all-male front of house. Servers included Grant van Gameren (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Pretty Ugly, El Rey, Harry’s, Tennessee Tavern), Trevor Lui (Kanpai), Bertrand Alépée (Tempered Room), Craig Harding (Campagnolo, La Palma) and Cory Vitiello (Flock). Here, some of the guys are waiting to run out dishes:


And Afrim Pristine (The Cheese Boutique) is off:


As an ode to Chicago’s work, which features 39 dinner plates that evoke the female reproductive anatomy, chefs were given instructions that each dish, or the plating of each dish, evoke vaginas. The dishes that follow were a collaborative effort created by Kate Chomyshyn (Quetzal), Miriam Echeverria (Los Colibris), Alexandra Feswick (The Drake Hotel), Trish Gill (The Twisted Apron), Missy Hui (Fabbrica), Léonie Lilla, Veronica Mal (Scout Canning), Laura Maxwell (Le Séléct), Trista Sheen, Olivia Simpson (Hawthorne Food and Drink):


The first course, titled “Four Play,” was a squid-ink cone with crusted albacore, black sesame ice cream and pickled roe:


Here we have endive with saffron, granola, chicory and époisses (a pungent French cow cheese) cream:


The third course, titled “Working Mother and Daughter,” was a tamarack chicken tortellini with squash, cured egg yolk and herbs:


For the fourth course, this tongue dish was flavoured with chutney, sumac, figs and mint:


The fifth course, “Blood and Beets,” transitioned from savoury into sweet with a raspberry sauce–topped farro risotto:


Things got a little visceral with the penultimate course, which splattered chili sauce around an evocative crème caramel:


Dinner ended in flames. The chefs trooped out of the kitchen to light the final course—a jelly-centred marshmallow in dark chocolate—on fire using Lot No. 40 whisky. The title of the grand finale: “Viva-Muff,” named after this classic cookie:


The kitchen was getting hungry, so Trevor Lui ordered 100 pieces of fried chicken from Kanpai. One of his chefs took an Uber all the way from Cabbagetown to the Junction Triangle to deliver the order: