There’s something exciting about the term "underground." It suggests something undiscovered, secret, maybe even a bit clandestine. Taking part in what is considered "underground" might even make us feel special and in-the-know. To a diner, that word can add a spice that turns a meal into a one-of-a-kind event.
That is the feeling inspired by Feast & Imbibe, a new underground dinner series run by two veterans of the Chicago culinary scene. D’Andre Carter and Heather Bublick have worked in some of the most respected restaurants in the Windy City. Both began as interns in Homaro Cantu’s innovative Moto. Carter worked his way up to sous chef, helping to create the tricky, thought-provoking dishes the restaurant is known for. Bublick made a turn to the front of house, where she developed a talent and passion for wine. She continued her education at Tru, then took to the retail side at Vinic Wine Company.
In December 2012 the duo decided to strike out on their own. Their initial plan was to start a catering company; instead they ended up at a space called Company in Evanston, creating fresh, inspiring pop-up dinners. At times when it was unavailable, they took up a smaller venue, creating dinners for intimate gatherings of up to eight people. Before long their underground dinners were a hit, and the reservations began pouring in.
Carter crafts dishes that are much in the spirit of his previous restaurant. In his philosophy, food should be more than just its taste; it should be sight and sound, resulting in a complete experience. This kind of modern take on food is the next step in dining, he told us. It is 2013, and meals should be artistic and interactive.
Bublick gives a friendly lean to her wine pairings, making her choices something that diners can appreciate, as opposed to sipping mystified. As she explained, wine can be scary, and there’s a lot of information to take in. Bublick wants those at her table to feel comfortable. Together, the pair’s creative and approachable dinners leave their guests with a truly memorable event. However, for the two of them, it is what happens around the table that makes the meal; an instant bond created between people who have experienced something original and exciting.
It can be difficult to get a seat at their secret location, but luckily Feast & Imbibe is still popping up around town. The next pop-up dinner is scheduled at Jam in Logan Square April 12 through April 14. It will offer an abbreviated, but equally stunning version of some of the dishes served at their weekly underground events. Take a look at their Facebook page for more information.