Secret dining societies seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Foodies are seeking out alternatives to swanky restaurants in more curated dining experiences happening in intimate and avant-garde settings. One of the most popular amongst New York’s dining elite is Tasting Society, the Brooklyn-based project of Michelin-trained chefs Eric Bolyard and Andrew Black.
Black and Bolyard left the hallowed stations of Eleven Madison Park, where they worked under executive chef Daniel Humm, and took their expertise outside the traditional dining room to a constantly changing dinner society. For Black and Bolyard, the principles of working as chefs—“discipline, organization and ownership of responsibility,” according to Black—remain pillars even while they enjoy the freedom to take culinary risks that weren’t possible at a renowned restaurant. They no longer have to please the masses with a standard dish meant to generate revenue. Instead, they take advantage of fresh items that have a small peak season. As Bolyard concisely puts it: “Tasting Society gives us a platform to cook as we feel in the moment.”
That being said, Black and Bolyard don’t shy away from collaboration. The two have organized impressive events, including a recent pop-up dinner called Scene but Unseen at Williamsbug’s Urban Cowboy B&B. It was a technique-driven menu and each dish was an exploration of temperature and treatment that explored fermented, smoked, frozen, cured, grilled, charred, dried, preserved and infused dishes, drawing out tastes and textures unique to each course.
While previously invite-only, Tasting Society is now offering spaces at future meals to members of its mailing list. It’s an experience that promises to be, well, delicious.