What if you were told about a restaurant that had no fixed location or menu and kept this information a secret until just a few hours before you leave for dinner? The Dissident Chef of San Francisco does just this to his patrons on a regular basis. They purchase tickets without any idea what or where they will be eating.
The details are emailed to ticket holders on the day of the event. The location is usually a unique, wide open facility that wouldn’t strike you immediately as a place to go out to eat. Abandoned warehouses and wine cellars have been transformed by The Dissident Chef and his entourage into a temporary “environment” for his food events.
For all the secrecy, the actual events are supposed to be wondrous affairs, with unique 6-10 course meals that are usually themed around certain ingredients or types of food. The food is, of course, sourced locally and served as fresh as possible. The Dissident Chef, who grew tired of running a top 10 L.A. restaurant before emigrating to San Francisco, focuses on surprising and delighting his guests.
Social media has been crucial to the success of Sub-Culture Dining. Facebook and Twitter allow Sub Culture’s followers to track events and communicate quickly about developments. These new mediums have also helped this utterly unique approach to fine dining to rocket to success in only a few years. The result is limited membership to the Sub Culture club, with The Dissident Chef as ringleader and ultimate decision maker on who gets to attend these exclusive dinners.
Besides social media, the very effective technique of perceived supply shortage (i.e. limited memberships) has helped Sub Culture Dining become the worst kept secret in San Francisco. For The Dissident, the experience has allowed him to accrue the investors and connections he needed to start his own fine dining establishment in San Francisco.
For the majority of the food service industry, such a unique approach to serving premier fine cuisine may seem a little on the extreme side. Yet the excitement Sub Culture Dining has produced in San Francisco is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whatever you think about the oddities of The Dissident Chef’s approach, you can’t argue with the fundamentals of the restaurant business he has absolutely nailed: fresh, unique cuisine, quality service, and a great atmosphere.