Many people probably think it's just a gimmick that we refer to our Cobaya events as "experiments." But we really do push chefs to push themselves. This is not simply an excuse to trot out the same old dishes in a fixed price, tasting menu format. If there's one "rule," it's that it has to be an off-menu experience.
What diners may not fully appreciate is that oftentimes, this means they're getting a dish that the chef not only has never served before - sometimes they've never even made it before. And since we're rarely working with chefs who have the opportunity or budget to do a full dry run in advance, often these really are experiments of a sort, and the diners really are the guinea pigs.
That was undoubtedly the case with our most recent Cobaya event, a late brunch ("Dunch") with Chef Micah Edelstein of neMesis Urban Bistro in downtown Miami. Which, to me, makes the meal she put together all the more remarkable.
(You can see all my pictures in this Cobaya "Dunch" at neMesis flickr set)
We wanted to do it on Sunday, when we could take over neMesis' cozy dining room, and that quickly turned to thoughts of brunch. Brunch became "Dunch" (dinner / lunch) when we proposed a noon-ish start time, to which Micah responded "I don't get up before noon on Sunday!" Though we didn't start until 3pm, I suspect she had to rise a little earlier than usual anyway.
The menus on the tables were actually the final iteration of sketches Chef Edelstein prepared both to brainstorm dishes and game-plan their preparation, an interesting insight into both the creative and logistical processes of putting together the meal. Afterwards, she shared with me some earlier versions, which showed how some dishes changed and evolved, and also how each of the components was highlighted or crossed off as it was prepared. I'll show each course here with both the sketch and the final realization.