Sep 5, 2008
Lifestyle - Gourmet Outdoor Dining
Picnics can be haute. Since 1999, a small Santa Cruz, California-based organization called Outstanding in the Field has created a traveling "restaurant without walls," roving the United States hosting dining events on beaches, ranches, vineyards and the like. Top chefs hailing from food hot spots such as San Francisco, New York and Chicago fly in to handpicked venues—from Napa Valley, California, to Miami—and whip up five-star meals using all local ingredients and wines. The spread is served outdoors on a long white-linen-clad table that seats up to 140 guests, who come from all over the world to experience owner Jim Denevan's creation for themselves. Denevan, an artist, chef and one of the founders of the wildly popular Slow Food movement, has hosted only a few foreign events in the past, mainly in Italy. Now the group is undergoing a global expansion, with a meal planned in Montepulciano, Italy, for Aug. 27 and more in the works in Spain and France for 2009. Additionally, six dinners in Australia are tentatively on the calendar for February. When asked where his dream locale for a future event would be, Denevan responds: "Antarctica … I want to hold one on all seven continents." For a complete schedule of dates or to register for an event, visit the Web site at outstandinginthefield.com. Tickets run between $150 and $300 a head.