Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.
Dining out is a wonderful thing. It’s the best for trying new cuisines and our personal favorite way to socialize with family and friends. And even though we could never get tired of going to restaurants, we appreciate a truly unique dining event, and Tasting Collective is here to make these one of a kind experiences accessible to all.
“I started Tasting Collective because I’ve always felt the traditional restaurant experience is not exactly what I want,” Nat Gelb, Tasting Collective founder, said. “Personally, I want dinner out to be more of an experience with a story behind it than it currently is. I love learning about how food is made, where ingredients come from and the background of the chef who cooks the meal.”
Tasting Collective takes over private spaces in top restaurants and gives the chefs a chance to tell a story about the food they just prepared. Whenever possible, as each course is served, the chef comes out of the kitchen and speaks to diners about the ingredients and inspiration behind each dish. It creates a more intimate environment and special experience for both parties.
“In the traditional restaurant environment, chefs are hidden back in the kitchen slaving away, making food for diners,” Nat said. “We flip the script by bringing the chefs out of the kitchens and into the dining room to interact. For our members, learning about the food and the chefs cooking the food actually makes the food taste even better.”
Family-style dining and the chance to interact with new people is another way Tasting Collective is changing the restaurant experience. It allows guests to try multiple courses, off menu dishes and meet other food lovers through communal dining. Past dinners have been held at favorites like Miss Lily’s and Pig & Khao (which we attended and loved), and great restaurants like NY Times Critics’ Pick Yunnan Kitchen and James Beard Nominee Hearth are next up on the roster.
You can sign up as a guest for free to access Tasting Collective’s events, or you can become a member for an annual fee of $199 for preferred pricing on all events, access to exclusive members-only functions and perks from their participating partners. It’s currently only available in NYC, but they plan on expanding to other cities very soon. To learn more about Tasting Collective, visit them at tastingcollective.com.