Raleigh, N.C. — You know you’ll be served eight seasonal, local courses by eight hugely talented chefs from across the state. You just don’t know what’s on the menu – or where exactly you’ll be eating quite yet. And that’s all part of the fun. Welcome to The Blind Pig Supper Club.
On Sunday, May 7, the Asheville-based underground supper club will come to Raleigh for “Eve of the Eighth.” The dinner will celebrate 2017 as the eighth year of the TerraVita Food & Drink Festival, happening in and around Chapel Hill in October. The “8” theme will appear visually on diners’ plates and in the selection and sourcing of local ingredients. The dinner’s exact location will be disclosed 48 hours in advance. Tickets are $88. Gratuity is not included, and guests are invited to bring their own beer or wine.
The participating chefs are: Steve Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions in Raleigh; Kim Hunter of Kimbap Café in Raleigh; Matthew Krenz of The Asbury in Charlotte; Phoebe Lawless of Scratch and The Lakewood in Durham; Mike Moore of The Blind Pig Supper Club in Asheville; Dean Neff of PinPoint Restaurant in Wilmington; Jeff Seizer of Royale in Raleigh; and Jamie Swofford of The Chef’s Farmer in Shelby.
The Blind Pig Founder Mike Moore puts together a different lineup of culinary stars for each monthly dinner. He says the chefs enjoy the opportunity to get out of their usual routines, collaborate with peers they deeply admire (even if they haven’t met before) and cook for an adventurous group of diners. “When it comes to being a chef and honing in on a seasonal, local and creative menu, that’s our dream come true – to have a guest come in the door and totally trust us. Our taste, our palate, our skill, our expertise,” he says, adding that attendees often say afterward that they thoroughly enjoyed unconventional dishes they would have never ordered off a menu somewhere.
Founded in 2011, The Blind Pig Supper Club, in addition to being an established chef network, serves as a catalyst for community and charitable fundraising. Moore says that in six years, The Blind Pig has raised $72,000 for more than 90 charitable organizations. (While we’re crunching numbers, The Blind Pig has produced more than 125 events and plated about 56,350 dishes!) The “Eve of the Eighth” dinner will raise funds for the TerraVita Educational Foundation, which supports nutritional education and works with organizations that support access to safe, fresh food.
A native of eastern North Carolina and a current Buncombe County resident, Moore says the charitable component of The Blind Pig stems, in large part, from his nearly five years working as a Raleigh police officer. “To serve the community and the public is real important to me,” he says. “Everyone as human beings should do that at some point – find a way to help others.”
Moore turned in his badge in 2004, packed up his truck and went to San Francisco to pursue culinary school and restaurant work. He lost that sense of community building for a while, but found it again when he returned to his home state and launched The Blind Pig. At the first dinner in 2011, he raised funds for a small farm in Asheville that was at risk of shutting down. “It’s a great feeling to do what we love, but also serve our community,” says Moore, who comes from a family of farmers and cooks.
At the Raleigh dinner on May 7, guests will be the first to find out what TerraVita has in store when it returns to Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas Oct. 18-21. TerraVita has grown from a single tasting event into an annual four-day festival led by James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs, nationally-acclaimed cookbook authors, award-winning journalists and food artisans, winemakers, baristas, craft brewers and distillers. It's been named one of the “10 Southern Food Festivals You Need to Taste” by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is one of the country’s leading events focused on sustainable food and drink. TerraVita lives its mission by producing a zero waste event.
“Blind Pig has a devoted following, and we wanted to bring our two audiences together with an amazing group of chefs from across the state,” says TerraVita Founder Colleen Minton. “These dinners offer the opportunity to engage in a truly unique experience. These chefs won’t ever cook together again – as an entity – and I know they will rock it for this Raleigh crowd! We can’t wait.”
Tickets to TerraVita 2017’s various events will go on sale at terravitafest.com at 10 p.m., immediately following the Blind Pig dinner.
“Eve of the Eighth” is expected to sell out. For tickets, go to theblindpigsupperclub.com.
Out and About is a sponsor of TerraVita Food and Drink Festival.