In essence, it's a dinner party. But with most of these events, the dishes—usually prepared by a chef who's part of the draw—are made to highlight local ingredients and show off the indigenous cuisine. There are no set rules as to how guests are invited; it may be word of mouth among a group of friends or an email list with a first-come, first-serve reservation policy.
Outstanding in the Field's dinners are expensive (from $180 to $220 a person); you're paying for the experience of meeting local food advocates and undoubtedly eating a very good meal. But we think the idea could be easily adapted on a smaller scale for the home cook. Find an outdoor space and throw a party with other food lovers, maybe even some you've never met. You can keep the location a secret until the day before, or just treat the whole evening like a down home dinner party, with a focus on local ingredients and dishes served family-style.
The story describes these dinners like pop-up restaurants, but you don't have to be a chef. The fun is having a special scene just appear out of nowhere—and to go home full and happy.
(Images: Peter Frank Edwards for Garden & Gun)