Secret dinner parties and clubs have been a thing forever, from the pop-up “white parties” to clandestine and potentially illegal gatherings of adventurous epicureans. Damien Schaefer was one of the parties responsible for bringing the trend to Athens, Georgia through his clandestine Four Coursemen dinners. The team got together in a small shotgun house and served up a celebration featuring local chefs from establishments like Five & Ten, Farm 255 and The Grit, that diners have enjoyed since 2008. His newest dining project, Public Domain, is a bit less cloak-and-dagger, er, cloak-and-knife-and-fork.
The Public Domain dinners, a roving extension of the original Four Coursemen mission, are designed to bring the adventurous, sexy secret dinner party feel to the masses while showcasing local and sustainably-grown food in each city. Each Public Domain party will feature, in addition to a couple Four Coursemen alumni, at least one local chef to educate diners about the hows, wheres and whys of good food in their city.
The first of these dinners took place in Charleston, South Carolina back in July, featuring several Coursemen and Kevin Johnson of The Grocery in Charleston and two local producers and a rather delicious-sounding menu featuring chilled peach and tomato soup and grass-fed beef cheeks with a farro salad, among others. The next event will take place in Athens on October 26th with Five & Ten’s Dean Neff and Luna Baking Corp’s Matt Downes, and future events are in the works Austin; Cashiers, N.C.; Highlands, N.C.; Atlanta, New York, Birmingham and Knoxville.