Share the love
Restaurants and eating moments are experiencing a loud revolution. It seems like people want to go back to basics and understand WHY this fundamental human activity should be sacred, shared, preserved in an always faster world. Me and You, a private experience by Jehangir Mehta, is one of the last initiatives coming from NYC. An exciting project, a sort of creative hub between senses, sharing, discovery and exclusivity. We had a chance to interview Kate Gunning, one of the initiators of the project. When yummy meets exclusivity…
You’ve decided to launch a very interesting restaurant…can you tell us more about that?
YES! Chef Mehta has dreamed of having a private kitchen so personal and intimate he can tailor menus to each who dine. Me and You is that dream coming to life. When you dine at Me and You, you dine in Chef Mehta’s private kitchen, and the whole evening is really about the experience as well as the food. Chef will present each course, telling stories about the ingredients, and on occasion, their connection to a memory from his childhood in India.
Chef’s kitchen is in a secret location in the East Village, because we want it to be special, and only seen by those who dine with him, almost like you’re entering the kitchen in his home. The space is really intimate, with 1 big communal table, and an open kitchen so you can really be with the Chef for the whole evening. The vibe is quite warm, dimly lit candle light, exposed brick, records playing, with the scent of fresh flowers from the season and the amazing flavors cooking up in the kitchen. It’s all about shared experiences in Chef’s kitchen, as he believes eating is for sharing and creating memories.
We have a few options for dining in Chef’s kitchen. First, you can book the space for a private experience for up to 14 people. When you do, you’ll be sent a survey to fill in for your group, with about 10 questions regarding your preferences for flavors, texture, wine, etc. Chef uses the survey responses to create a tailored menu just for your event.
Second, Chef will open his kitchen for dinners in which he creates the menu, and opens the table up to the first 14 guests who make a booking. For this menu, he’ll feature flavors of the season, the latest wines on his preferred list. It’s a nice chance for Chef to get creative, and open his kitchen to anyone who wants to join.
Finally, Chef is passionate about the intersection of art and dining and will host collaboration dinners every month featuring other chefs, artists, writers, designers, the like. This will be a fun forum for Chef to collaborate with another like minded talent, as well as to offer an opportunity for our guests to dine with the chef and artist of the night – to get to know them, view their art, or discuss their book, whatever it may be.
On this note, at launch we are featuring art from one of Warhol’s Academy of Art students, Gaetanne Lavoie
. She’s amazingly talented, and we are glad to be able to feature her art on our walls, and share her story with our guests.
A lot of city boys and girls are looking for alternative experiences: do you see any difference between London & NYC?
It’s funny you mention, as one of the inspirations for this concept is actually the supper clubs that are so prevalent in Paris right now. We love the principle of the supper clubs in Paris that invite you into apartments for great food, an intimate vibe, new people and conversation, and that is much of what we want to create for Chef’s dinners which he opens to the public for booking.
The private dinner experiences we had in London were amazing, as well, the thing is, they were pop ups. What we love about this is that it’s an opportunity to really create a staple in the East Village for the long term, and to allow people to hopefully really connect with the Chef and the space.
How did you meet your chef?
We’ve known Chef for over 4 years. My husband Tim and I met him through a mutual friend in NYC before our move to London. We went to his other restaurant, Graffiti, and literally ordered one of everything on the menu. We were so impressed by the creativity of his food, and then, with his authenticity and passion for sharing his food and his culture and getting to know his guests. We visited Graffiti frequently before we moved to London, and while living in London, and kept in touch that way. A few months ago we joined Chef as guests at an underground dinner club, and then over wine one Sunday following discussed the idea. The rest is history!
What would be the perfect memory you want to create among your new customers?
An experience that taps into all your senses, that’s unique to anything else because it’s not just about the food, its about who you’re with, the space, the Chef, his stories, the music, the thought behind each carefully crafted course, because the menu has been created just for the night. An experience that lasts for hours, sometimes includes entertainment, and maybe even includes Chef baking scones for your breakfast the next day…. passing them to you on your way out into the night……
Where can we follow the project?
Kate Gunning will also be blogging: kategunning.tumblr.com
or instagramming @kategunning or tweeting @kategunning