Outstanding in the field takes to the beach
Chef Simeon Hall hosts founder Jim Devenan’s culinary caravan
The roving restaurant without walls known as Outstanding in the Field sits down today. Bahamian shores. Founder Jim Devenan’s culinary caravan hosted by chef Simeon Hall Jr., a self-proclaimed “culinary griot” who is as passionate about storytelling as he is about locally sourced cuisine, and a fierce proponent of the “farm to table” and “sea to spoon” movements.
Outstanding in the Field sees the pioneering venture set its communal table for the Winter 2023 season at warm weather locations that are exciting the food world and situated across the southern half of the United States, Hawaii, Mexico, and for the first time – The Bahamas.
“In addition to recognizing some very special family purveyors in Southern California and the Central Coast on the upcoming tour, we are excited to complement our selection of food growers and culinary talent in Mexico with an extraordinary ecosystem of growers and craftspeople working with the region’s henequen and agave,” said Denevan. “Experiencing the local flavors of The Bahamas and O’ahu with native sons of the islands is also going to delight Outstanding devotees.”
The radical alternative to conventional dining experiences and farm-to-table-focused meals, Denevan creates restaurants right at the source of the ingredients. A single long table exists in each place for just that day, set along tables in fields, orchards and along the seashores where the meal’s ingredients were harvested.
Outstanding in the Field is setting up the table at Lighthouse Beach – a gorgeous spit of green grasses and white-gold sand jutting out into the variegated turquoise and blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Paradise Island.
Patrons can expect a colorful and fragrant feast featuring fresh catch from host fisherwoman Shacara Lighbtourne, and all sorts of local delicacies from the surrounding lands and sea. Conch is sure to make an appearance, along with the islands’ bounty of tropical fruits.
Tickets for Outstanding in the Field are $365.
The aim is to reconnect diners to the land while celebrating the hardworking hands that feed people. A tree planting initiative to populate the landscape with palm trees and indigenous flora will also take place.
Denevan is a renowned land artist who creates ephemeral drawings in the earth’s topography and founded a roving culinary experience that celebrates pioneers in the sustainable movement called Outstanding in the Field.
Founded in 1999 in California by Denevan, the tour travels the globe exalting those who grow and raise food in a way that respects the Earth and land, closely paralleling Denevan’s practice as a land artist.
His culinary caravan has been set in stunning natural locales around the world that yield celebrated ingredients via sustainable farming and husbandry methods. Denevan brings his trained eye to every detail of his communal dinners, beginning with the highly considered placement, shape and length of each table. On some occasions, he combines one of his extraordinary large-scale works, which are etched into the sand using a rake and shovel and created without the aid of measurement tools of any kind. His work has been featured at exhibitions and installations at the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, MoMA/PS1 and Desert X AlUla.
Outstanding in the Field was founded by Denevan as a radical alternative to the conventional dining experience. Rather than source ingredients for a restaurant, they bring the restaurant to the source.
It began with a humble dinner on Denevan’s brother’s farm. Their culinary caravan has since reached all 50 United States and 16 countries around the globe – with tables set in vineyards, beaches, meadows, fishing docks, and city streets in addition to a long list of organic and sustainable farms.
Their aim is to connect diners to the origins of their food while celebrating the hardworking hands that feed people – chefs, farmers, fishermen and women, cheesemakers, vintners, brewers and more.
They have welcomed some of the world’s most renowned chefs and culinary artisans to join them and cook in their field kitchen.
Their roving restaurant without walls is rebuilt every morning and disappears every night. It is a momentary experience and a joyful celebration of human connection. Diners gather at one lone table to share the most fundamental and universal human conversation – a meal.
According to Denevan, there has been dark clouds and dark days for the past few years that everyone has had to face. He said the strength to persevere comes in adverse and tough times, but that strength also comes from embracing whimsy, lightheartedness, and play.
“Gathering at the table heals and nourishes. Slows everything down. Right down to the speed of thinking. Conversation at the table evolves, naturally, each person contributing organically to a destination that is not predetermined. To get to the place of surprise and whimsy, we seek it out and give it room to happen.”
Hundreds of the world’s most honored chefs, including James Beard Award winners and Top Chef champions, have performed in Outstanding in the Field’s outdoor kitchens.