One wintry Saturday evening in February, I had the privilege to attend I Forgot It's Wednesday, a unique, 'secret-location' supper club in New York City. Characterizing it as "unique" probably doesn't do it justice - in my opinion, it was exceptional.
I Forgot It's Wednesday isn't just any supper club--its purpose is to create a community of like-minded others in a meaningful and entertaining way. Creators and hosts Jenny and Matt Dorsey (aka Chief Bellyfiller and Chief Imbiber, respectively) bring the purpose to life through their culinary expertise and obvious passion, inspiring every detail right down to the custom menus and well-appointed name cards.
What began as a way to create a deeper sense of community has become a signature experience. At Columbia Business School, Matt and Jenny struggled to find a productive way to engage with their peers in a way beyond campus 'small-talk'. Their solution: create a different atmosphere altogether. Jenny and Matt started to host dinner parties with friends and acquaintances and after the first month of beta testing their dinner party approach, word spread and the guest list grew.
The dinner parties also gave them a path for their creative passions--Jenny had the chance to start experimenting creatively with food while Matt ventured into the cocktail world.
I left the evening energized by the remarkable combinations of food and drink, intriguing conversations and even a few new friends. I also had the chance to talk more with Jenny and Matt, find out what's inspiring them and get a sneak peek into what's next for I Forgot It's Wednesday.
Laura: How did the name come about?
Jenny & Matt: The thought behind the name really came from our guests. During our mid-week beta test dinners, we often heard guests say they were having so much fun they would 'forget it's Wednesday!' It's been very exciting for us to meet new friends through our supper clubs and participate in some truly bizarre, hilarious, probing and enriching conversations.
Laura: You both were tremendous hosts and created an experience of comfort and creativity. What do you like most about hosting?
Jenny & Matt: The best part of hosting is seeing and feeling the moment where everyone begins to really "click" at the table. We've tried various ways to help break down barriers among strangers and one of the things that's really worked is the fun facts we use during the evening. It's such a rewarding experience to hear people share little tidbits about themselves in a new setting or start an intense conversation with their neighbor on something they never knew they had in common.
Laura: In your mind, what makes I Forgot It's Wednesday different from other supper clubs?
Jenny & Matt: We believe a dining experience is not just about food and drink. Setting up the environment properly so a guest feels comfortable from the minute he or she steps into our door is extremely important to us. We also don't bother being prim and proper - we love to joke around, poke fun at fancy aspects of gastronomy and mixology, like the molecular movement (even if we use plenty of those methods) and interact one-on-one with all our guests. We also like to keep everyone "comfortably uncomfortable" with some hidden tricks up our sleeve, so an evening with us isn't just another place to dine but more like an adventure.
Laura: I found the entire dining experience to be so thoughtfully connected. Where do you get the inspiration for your menus?
Jenny & Matt: The menus take a long time to perfect and pair. During the week, you'll find us up late, after our day jobs, experimenting with new flavor combinations, plating or exploring oddities like Matt's magnetic stirrer. We're both willing to try anything once, so we love finding new ingredients to sample or combining weird stuff (mushroom ice cream? fish sauce and lychees?) and see where it takes us. We both respect each other's craft, so we try to make sure both food and cocktails shine on the menu. Together, we're more than the sum of our parts.
Laura: What's next for you guys? What should we be watching for?
Jenny & Matt: We've been branching into workshops and classes in addition to our regular repertoire of dinners and brunch. We've also started hosting corporate and private events, which are fun since they're completely customized. In the spring, you can expect a larger format popup event and potentially a permanent new space opening in the city.
To find out more and join an evening, visit the I Forgot It's Wednesday site.