Touring the private collection of New York art dealers Jack and Dolly Geary in their Manhattan apartment is not exactly where I would expect to find myself on a typical weeknight. But that tour was the preamble to a unique dinner party that is part of a growing movement to use meals as a means to bring strangers together.
Stephanie Nass studied art history, but like many of her Columbia classmates, came out of school pursuing a career in finance. It was a natural move for an Ivy League graduate, however not one that Nass found particularly fulfilling. Her passions had always been art and food. There must, she thought, be more people like her out there. And so, after beginning culinary school, she set out to find them through her twice-monthly meetings of Victory Club—a supper club that pulls together a diverse crowd over good art and good food. She has found a home for her parties in the apartments of people like critic Saul Ostrow and artist Mark Kostabi to galleries like London's Frameless.
While a common love of art runs through everyone who shows up at Victory Club, it simply serves as a jumping off point. My evening at the Geary’s included conversations that drifted from street photography to startup culture to Tough Mudders—an odd assortment of topics that managed to genuinely interest everyone.
And for anyone whose anxiety levels are currently making their palms sweat at the thought of spending several hours in a group of people you don’t know, there could still be a place for you at one of Nass’s dinner parties. Invitees are all specifically asked to bring one extra person to every event. And while it could provide wallflowers with a bit of a security blanket, that’s not really the point of the invitation. “Meeting someone's friends makes them more real” said Nass. And that sense of real community is what she is out to foster. And, at least on one recent Thursday over pistachio crusted salmon and rosé, she succeeded.