Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dermie's Article: Outstanding In The Field

The last two summers have seen a sell-out tour sweeping America from New York to Boston, from LA to Southern California. Tickets go on sale and are sold out within days, but this tour is not headlined by Madonna nor is it U2- this tour is 'Outstanding In The Field'. This concept is a movable al-fresco feast with a farm to fork philosophy. Diners sign up and pay for a five course meal which is set in the local farmer's greenhouses where diners re-connect to the land and the origins of their food. The aim of Outstanding In The Field is to honour local farmers and food artisans who work hard to bring the feast to the table.

Formed in 1999, by chef and artist Jim Denevan, Outstanding In The Field has since seen farms, barns, mountain tops and even caves been transformed for the evening to celebrate produce where the ingredients have been sourced in the locality, mostly from the farm and some of the ingredients are even inches away from your table. The Outstanding In The Field team, who served almost 10,000 meals across the US last year, travel in a big red bus with California licence plates rumoured to be Elvis Presley’s tour bus.

Last year, outstanding in the field embarked on a successful European tour where in the space of three weeks the team hosted dinners in six different countries: Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Holland, Spain, and Italy.  To bring their family-style dining experience to hundreds celebrating their local food heroes and bringing fun back to the dining table. This year, the Outstanding In The Field team will be coming back to Europe stopping off in September in Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co. Cork and other locations around Europe.

It would be brilliant if more and more Irish farms engaged in this new food movement with the aim of re-connecting diners with their produce. For those Irish farmers seeking innovative ways to make money from their farm and produce, there is definitely a market in Ireland for the concept of 'agri-tainment' for weddings, corporate events and birthday parties. I really do believe that this concept will gain momentum in Ireland and I look forward to seeing an invite in my door to come dine 'al-greenhouse'.

For those entrepreneurial farmers, a business concept is waiting to be brought to life and it is a brilliant idea to showcase the best of your produce. For more information about Outstanding In The Field European Tour click on their website: