Sort-of Secret: SeeYouSoon, a pop-up dinner series that’s different every time

Sort-of Secret: SeeYouSoon, a pop-up dinner series that’s different every time

The dinners are often collaborations with food and beverage producers, including farmers and fishmongers

SeeYouSoon, a pop-up dinner series in Toronto, takes over the kitchen at Affinity Fish

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The sort-of secret: SeeYouSoon, a pop-up dinner series
You may have heard of it if: You follow 915 Dupont or Affinity Fish on Instagram and have seen them advertise their SeeYouSoon pop-ups
But you probably haven’t tried it because: The series only started in January and is hosted at a different location each time

Keith Siu, Michael Ovejas and Kevin Le are on a mission to create a travelling dining experience that’s never the same thing twice. Having each worked in the restaurant industry for nearly a decade, the three Toronto chefs are pooling their collective experience with the pop-up dinner series SeeYouSoon.

“SeeYouSoon represents the idea of bidding farewell with the intention of meeting again,” Le says. “It’s a concept centred around bringing together familiar and new faces through the shared experience of food.”

The SeeYouSoon chefs and Affinity Fish owners, pictured at a recent popup
From left to right: Kevin Le, Affinity Fish co-owner Matt Taylor, Michael Ovejas, Affinity Fish co-owner Jon Klip and Keith Siu.

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Drawing from their rich culinary backgrounds, Siu, Ovejas and Le combine their impressive skill sets from their time spent in kitchens around the world—including Copenhagen’s Noma, Chile’s Borago, New York’s Gem, and Mimi Chinese, Frilu and Hexagon in the GTA. They weave together flavours from China, Vietnam and the Philippines for their ever-changing menu, and they collaborate with various food and beverage producers, including farmers, fishmongers and sometimes other chefs.

Since January, SeeYouSoon has hosted pop-up events at various locations throughout the city, including Soho House and Don’t Worry Wines. Their adventures have even taken them far beyond city limits to Vancouver’s Bowen Island, where they worked on a dinner with farmers at Endswell Farm.

The menu for the SeeYouSoon and Affinity Fish collaboration pop-up dinner

A panko-crusted bite, just one of the courses at a recent SeeYouSoon pop-up dinner

Whether they’re creating a nine-course fine-dining experience or slinging snacks at a wine-tasting event, the SeeYouSoon boys are exploring their memories of food and elevating their dinner menus to a form of artistic expression. “I think that, at most pop-ups, the focus is always just on the food–a chef will set up somewhere and showcase their dishes,” Le says. “They aren’t curating their menu to the specific space hosting them. We’re trying to do things differently.”

For a recent pop-up dinner at 915 Dupont, a café and listening bar in the west end, they served duck coated in a coffee-based spice and infused other dishes with coffee kombucha. For a collaboration with Little Portugal seafood market Affinity Fish, they served an amuse bouche of sujiko (highly sought-after seasonal salmon roe from Japan) marinated in red miso, placed atop a cold chawanmushi and finished with yeast oil. And for their farm-to-table event on Bowen Island, they sourced local trout, infused it with seaweed and smoked it.

One of the many fish dishes at a recent SeeYouSoon dinner, hosted at Toronto's Affinity Fish

A dining room full of happy guests at the SeeYouSoon and Affinity Fish collaboration pop-up dinner

Unlike many pop-up operations, the team isn’t looking to lock down a regular location. Instead, they’re in search of new collaborators that can allow them to experiment with their culinary expression. Over the last couple months of SeeYouSoon dinners, they’ve also capitalized on and revitalized past connections from their histories in the culinary industry.

“SeeYouSoon has given us the opportunity to converse properly with people. This is the first real shot we have at collaborating with others,” says Siu. “This dinner series represents our experience with food way more than anything else that we’ve done throughout our careers.”

Keep an eye on their Instagram account to find out where they’re popping up next.

One of the courses at a recent SeeYouSoon pop-up dinner at Toronto's Affinity Fish