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The Birth of Interactive Dining

If you’ve been to The Back Burner before, then you’ve heard me talk about one of the hottest culinary trends of the past year: so-called “underground” fine dining.  This movement started on the West Coast and has quickly spread to most of the major cities in America.  Each version is different, but all underground dining shares some common threads, including multi-course prix fixe meals served in an unusual location that has been temporarily transformed.  These locations are usually kept secret and breaking onto the guest list often takes monumental effort.

Part of the allure and sense of adventure associated with these events revolves around the secrecy and the surprise of enjoying a menu you know nothing about in a place you’ve never known.  But what if you were asked to strap on an apron and get to work prepping veggies and expediting appetizers after you finally got on the list and found the latest secret location?

The founders of A Razor, a Shiny Knife expect exactly that from their guests, and that’s after the $300-per-couple fee for the privilege of attending.  The crazy thing is, guests absolutely love it.  Events put on by this group are part theater, part cooking show, and a healthy dose of modern cooking in its finest form.

Between theatrical performances that educate guests about everything from the finer points of handling a knife to incorporating liquid nitrogen into your culinary arsenal, a beautiful multi-course meal is prepared and served, mostly by the guests themselves.

Combining the interactivity of a cooking show with the adventurous spirit of the underground dining movement has proven to be a potent combination.  A Razor, a Shiny Knife has events booked in L.A., along the East Coast, and even South America.

As culinary pioneers continue to break down the last vestiges of the coat-and-tie dining experience, the reach of modern cooking and all its molecular gastronomy weirdness is starting to reach the masses.  This times perfectly with the rise of the celebrity chef, and the natural extension of this trend is the desire to emulate the likes of Gordon Ramsay.

A Razor, a Shiny Knife has ushered in a new era of guest involvement with their food that will undoubtedly work its way through the entire food service industry in the years to come.

About Greg McGuire

Greg has blogged about the food service industry for years and has been published in industry magazines, like Independent Restaurateur and industry blogs like Restaurant SmartBrief. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons and enjoys reading, live music, and the great outdoors.

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