In the fall of 2011, Erik Shirai contacted me and was interested in doing a web short on Studiofeast. He had read about us following the Doppelganger Dinner and was looking to feature us in the first episode of a series of food films he was producing called, “I Am What I Eat.” I was into the idea and we decided to focus on the Last Meal Dinners we do each year as an angle. I thought it’d be a few hours of Erik filming us as we prepped and served the meal, he’d make a 2 minute web short, and that would be that. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Instead, I had the pleasure of witnessing a master craftsman of visual storytelling do his thing, helping to shape our story unlike any other person or media outlet has ever done. The fruit of his genius is above, and was also the focus of our most recent event, “We Love Pork and Whiskey.”
The film captures Studiofeast’s past, present and goals for the future. And the core message that Erik captured so well is this simple truth that speaks to the heart of what we believe: cooking for others can change your life. Studiofeast began as a passion project five years ago with the carving of a pig on a dresser and 20 close friends. It was an extension of a certain brand of fun, sewn together and amplified by the presence of food.
That dinners grew in scale and scope as we began inviting strangers into the fold; life started to change as those strangers turned into acquaintances, then friends, then became some of the closest, most important people in our lives. All of that traced back to food and if nothing else, we at Studiofeast want to do our part to inspire and educate people. We aim to show that cooking is not only a gateway to great eating, but the key component of living a great life.
Our story is the first in the series for Erik, and he’s raising funds right now to keep making his wonderful films. Check out his Indiegogo page to hear more about his story and donate to his talents. There’s also some wonderful prizes from us for those who pitch in.
Monday’s event was our chance to explore our deepest edible/drinkable passions with our 7 course pork and whiskey menu. The night began with a set of amazing cocktails created by Brian Quinn with help from Booker & Dax’s Jane Elkins. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one was my favorite, as that’d be akin to choosing a favorite child.
Our first set of courses paired with those dangerously brown spirits introduced guests to the perfectly safe and wonderful world of raw pork (Flying Pigs Farm Pork Tartare), my childhood Saturday morning breakfasts (Spam Fries), and the thing that’s been filling my apartment up with a wonderfully persistent smoked pork aroma for the last month (Benton’s Country Ham).
With three dishes down and four to go, we unleashed the second wave of porky goodness with our mains: Kakuni Bo Ssam (a SF classic), MaPo Porchetta (Porchetta, Sichan style), and our souped up, fancified version of the glorious, elusive beast that is the McDonald’s McRib (ours won’t give you massive heartburn). To close, we served up a Char Siu Pork Donut with Prosciutto ice cream and powdered bacon fat–a dessert I believe belongs in the pantheon of classic desserts such as Peach Melba, Bananas Foster, and the infamous Flourless Chocolate Cake.
After five years, I’ve pushed this passion project along into something much bigger than I thought it’d ever be — and we still have so much more to do. Monday’s event wasn’t about making a shit-load of money or making a splash in the big newspapers. Monday’s dinner was the culmination of our passion to create and our dedication to support others who create, like Erik.
If you were there, or wanted to be there, we thank you for your support. I can think of no happier endeavor than to be able to turn imagination into reality and have someone on the other end to enjoy it. Here’s to pork, whiskey, and passion projects.
Event Photo Gallery