Whispers of Sacredness — Recap of A Feast of Archetypes

Curated Feast Founder Liz Birnbaum shares a story with the Feasters

Curated Feast Founder Liz Birnbaum shares a story with the Feasters

Just a couple weeks ago, a group of Feasters gathered on a dark and stormy night for A Feast of Archetypes, where they explored Kings, Queens, Magicians, Warriors, and Lovers.

We hope these photos will transport you into that room—whether it is for the first time or a return journey.

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Table setting with handmade silk-hemp napkins, ice-dyed and left raw-edged to evoke an unfinished story. Atop the napkin is a unique tarot deck created for this Feast. A small sage, rose, rosemary, and lavender bundle with a hawthorn spine sits atop the cards. The Menu & tarot card guidebook sits below, with a cover designed for the ballet, Scheherazade.

We collaborated with the talented Flowers by Carra for the tablescape, and she brought such inspiration to the Feast!

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Let us always begin with bubbles!

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Magical Tarot Reader Emily Hope reads for The Jester, Brett Wiltshire.

Left: Lily Wrenn Stoichef, whose magical description at the end of this post sums up a Feast so beautifully, and Right: Rae Boghossian of Epic Wines and Spirits, who was our evening's accomplished wine pairing maven!

Thank you to Epic Wines and Spirits, who provided the wine for this feast! 

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Sovereign Soup — the curried root vegetables are activated by pouring a truffle beef broth. Poured at the table so each Feaster could survey the soup as a monarch would survey their realm. We included purple potatoes as a nod to the color's royal history tracing back to Ancient Rome. We explored the stories of King Arthur and Queen Elizabeth through this dish.

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Seige, 1258 — this two-part course told the story of the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258. This event marked the end of the Islamic Golden Age, as the Tigris ran red with blood and then black with ink from all of the illuminated  manuscripts dumped in the river. Guests were also asked to "break in" to the circular dish above, like warriors, to unveil a treasure within.

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Sol Salad — the cloche serves as a barrier to magic, and is emblematic of how magic is otherworldly. Yet, by simply lifting the top, magic is accessible. The salad focused on the nightshade, or solanaceae family, which was associated with witches and magic. The dressing used the same ingredients as a potion for psychic awareness. In this course we learned about the transformative power of magical thinking.

Scheherazade — the archetypal lover, she spins the tales of 1,001 nights to save her fellow women and also meanwhile seduces the Sultan. This baklava with cardamom chocolate ganache and rose petals told her story well, especially because each ingredient included the story of  travel and devotion to one's own beloved.

All photos are by the very talented Kyle Murphy of KNM Portraits, who captured this magic evening even in its subdued candlelight.

This Feast was only possible with the help of a group of amazing volunteers, collaborators, and staff! We owe tremendous thanks to:

  • Chef Hedy Nochimson of Plate & Bottle Supper Club, the alchemist in the kitchen who crafted each dish with us from concept into delicious reality;

  • Carra Duggan of Flowers by Carra whose curation of brass, glass, orchids, and ferns made this table truly sing;

  • Rae Boghossian of Epic Wines and Spirits who matched both budding ideas and taste buds with her excellent wine choices;

  • Carl Atilano, our super-talented guitarist who paired evocative melodies with each story in a way that one guest described as "pure poetry";

  • Emily Hope, our Tarot Reader who sparked ideas and explored questions with her deck and wisdom;

  • Monica Karst of Santa Cruz Socialites who brought smiles and sweetness;

  • Sarah Farrell Mackessey of Lille Aeske who brought graceful attention;

  • Heather Griffith of Live Earth Farm who found magic in the kitchen;

  • Will Glommen, who was the water keeper of the kitchen;

  • & Rosemary Quinn, who expertly organized the evening's ebb and flow.

Thank you ALL!

For the rest of the courses and the full gallery, please see the clickable photo reel below . . . or you can view the photos full-screen here.

After the feast, guests can be very generous with their praise . . . and lucky us! We feel so fortunate for all of the feedback we have received about this feast. If you have feedback or even still-brewing thoughts, please let us know! Here are a couple highlights:

One Feaster eloquently summed up this event, saying: "We were enticed to inhale, imbibe, and ingest history itself alongside an exquisitely original riff on the food of kings and peasants, warriors and witches, and lovers of all kinds."

Another very generously wrote to us and shared her experience so poetically that we wanted to share it in its entirety, here:

"Attending a Curated Feast is a profoundly moving experience. At first, guests are moved by the beauty of the scene laid out before them. The setting is intimate and comfortable, yet refined. Because the space has been decorated with symbols related to the theme of the feast, it holds a whisper of sacredness, the details of which are unfolded with great care over the course of the meal.

Throughout the feast, you are moved by Liz's guiding presence as she weaves stories through the flavors of each dish. She allows each guest to discover with increasing depth that each ingredient has a story, and that story has players, drama, joy and heartbreak that extends sometimes into the realm of legend—but often holds a history all too real. Because we are there enjoying the food, she explains, we are also part of that story. 

At the two feasts that I have attended, I have also been moved to boisterous laughter by one of the other guests, or moved to share deeply with the person next to me. Strangers quickly become friends at The Curated Feast.

With the layers of storytelling, impeccably crafted courses and lovely wines, the dinner party feels like a fantasy, yet the result is real and powerful. Ultimately, one walks away with a greater understanding and appreciation of the movement and history of our food systems and culture, and the role we as consumers, eaters and humans play." 

— Lily Wrenn Stoichef

Liz PearComment