Plenty of Argentine chefs look abroad to widen their experiences while sharing riches from Argentina’s culinary larder — 10 Manos in London, Cocina Sin Fronteras in Colombia and Comilona in Singapore are three recent endeavours that spring to mind — but the tables are about to turn when US-based project Outstanding in the Field looks to Argentina with a pop-up in Mendoza next month.
Helmed by Jim Denevan, Outstanding in the Field has been travelling the US and beyond since the first dinner in California in 1999 with his farm-and producers-to-table concept. Hosting events in all 50 states as well as 11 countries, more than 100,000 guests have dined out at the hands of guest chefs at this roving restaurant concept.And it’s now the turn of two key Latin American wine regions to host Outstanding for the first time: Chile’s Casablanca Valley and Uco Valley in Mendoza, obvious choices according to Jim.
He told the Herald: “It’s a long plane trip to South America, so we thought we should go to Argentina while we’re down there. Mendoza is notable for its wine and cuisine and as we’ve gone to many different countries, we wanted to bring the concept to a different place for those who travel to the events.
“Why has it taken so long to get here? It’s about time, isn’t it! It’s about adventure, it’s about fun and it’s about cross-pollination. This is the adventurous version of what we do in North America.”
The Mendoza edition, to be held on January 7, 2017, will nestle among the vineyards at Corazón del Sol in Uco Valley, a small winery located on The Vines of Mendoza’s private estate. Guest chef is Diego Irrera from Siete Fuegos restaurant, a fire-starting disciple of Francis Mallmann, who has not, as yet, confirmed his presence at the travelling table.
Besides enjoying the company of Lord knows who at the vast communal table (some guests have been to as many as 70 dinners while one couple attended 13 in a single season), you may find yourself seated next to the farmer who grew the greens, the cheesemaker who separated curds from whey or, more likely in Mendoza, the vintner who loved those baby grapes from shoots to harvest.
“Producers always have a seat at our table so they can tell the story behind their products,” Jim adds.
Of course organizer and keen foodie Jim is just as excited to dine in Chile on January 3, where his brother lives, at Emiliana Organic Vineyards.
“Bill is an organic farmer who’s been developing that concept in the southern hemisphere for the past 18 years. I worked with him when I was a teenager and he was my inspiration. This is the first time I’ll visit his farm in Casablanca plus he’ll show me his favourite surf spots,” says Jim, ever the Californian.
More info and to book seats at the table — www.outstandinginthefield.com
Buenos Aires Herald, 2 December 2016