Let's Talk: Scenes from Leif Hedendal's Dinner Discussion #30

Monica LoCascio

Last night artist Juliana Sabinson and Joshua Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA, hosted the 30th installment of the dinner party series, "Dinner Discussion," in their Brooklyn home. The event's founder, San Francisco-based chef Leif (pronounced "Life") Hedendal, cooked up an amazing spread for the invite-only traveling dinner club that has convened once a month since 2008 and specializes in vegetarian cooking. (Additionally, dishes are only made with ingredients taken from local farms, green markets and urban gardens.) For last night's spread, Hedendal worked with both the Brooklyn Grange and the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm to serve ground berries and shishito peppers for hors d'oeuvres, mesclun salad alongside a dish of fresh cranberry beans, potatoes, roasted corn, garlic scapes, parcel and caramelized alliums, a beautiful bowl of anchovy braised greens, and a heaping platter of roasted thyme carrots and radishes for the main course. To round out the meal we were served a perfectly toasted crostini topped with a spread of fresh, warm ricotta, a piece of Mast Brother's chocolate and a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. As incredibly flavorful and delicious as the menu was, the highlight of these discussions is the guest list, which combines people who work in the food industry as well as art, science, activism and public policy. Hedendal says the point of the dinner is not as much about the food as it is about "bringing people together who might inspire each other in a cross pollinating way." As Viertel puts it, he hopes the dinners will "make food movements smarter, and our art better." Last night's attendees included Creative Time's Anne Pasternak, Daniel Burns of the Momofuku Culinary Lab (and formerly of Noma and The Fat Duck), artist and engineer Natalie Jeremijenko, Cooper Union professor Doug Ashford, performance artist Anthony Graves and urban food activist Anna Viertel among others. There's nothing like good discussion over a good meal, and here's to many more inspiring nights from Hedendal. To find out more about the Dinner Discussion series visit dinner-discussion.blogspot.com.

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