In June, I did something a little crazy. I drove from New York City to L.A., and then flew to Seattle, throwing a series of eight dinner parties along the way. I partnered with some of my favorite bloggers—including Joy the Baker, Love & Lemons and the Fresh Exchange—and held collaborative dinner parties in NYC, Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle. The dinners were held in homes and backyards, on a farm, and in a former factory turned leather goods studio.
The dinners were truly a community endeavor: I cooked (using local ingredients when possible) and chose the wines, and my cohosts and guests—a mixture of bloggers, food writers, designers and creative entrepreneurs in each city—contributed things like flowers, handmade menus or place cards, artisan bread or homemade dessert. For each dinner, I asked local photographers to document the evening.
The purpose of the trip was promoting my upcoming cookbook, The Yellow Table: Celebrating the Art of Everyday Gatherings (out early November), a collection of more than 100 simple, seasonal recipes designed to share with friends and family around the table. Because I am self-publishing, I decided to fundraise via Kickstarter to cover the costs of the first printing, and knew that to meet my goal I’d need help spreading the word. The road trip dinner parties not only helped me raise awareness about the project, it helped put into practice the mission of the book—creating community around the table.