Just because the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) wasn’t able to present its regularly scheduled lineup of classical programming and Live Nation concerts this summer didn’t mean big things weren’t happening at the city’s premier nonprofit arts organization. In the past several months, SPAC has unveiled its Virtual Learning Library; a slew of virtual festivals, including the Festival of Young Artists, the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Fest and the Beethoven Festival; Ellen Reid’s immersive, GPS-enabled sonic art installation Soundwalk; and exclusive interviews with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell and classical ensemble Time for Three, not to mention the stunning reinvention of its physical grounds. Next on the organization’s jam-packed agenda? Socially distanced fine dining.
On October 13 and 14, SPAC will host a Chef’s Table Harvest Dinner at the venue’s new Pines Pavilion beginning at 6pm each evening. Curated by Kim Klopstock, owner of catering company Lily and the Rose, the evening will consist of a five-course, Modern French-themed dinner by renowned local chefs Michael Blake, head chef of Yaddo and Saratoga Supper Club, and Michele Hunter, executive chef of Hamlet & Ghost and winner of Food Network’s Chopped! earlier this year. The Harvest Dinner is the first in a series of “CulinaryArts@SPAC” events, an initiative created by Klopstock that will feature food classes, demonstrations and workshops that support the participating chefs, farmers and the local culinary community adversely affected by COVID-19. Such participants include Farmhouse Food Owner Kevin London, Fatnhappy LLC Executive Chef and Owner Dan Spitz and Max London’s Executive Sous Chef Sondra Galvin.
“The financial and emotional toll that COVID-19 has taken on our industry caused many to be without work and incur debt, while forcing us to reimagine our lives,” Klopstock says. “SPAC’s response to this hardship was to help create the new CulinaryArts@SPAC initiative, which will give these young professionals a unique place to be showcased.”
The bad news? Both 50-person Chef’s Table Harvest Dinner seatings are already sold out. But don’t despair: “I’m hopeful that it will become the first of many such events,” says Klopstock. And, judging by SPAC’s ambitious track record, we’ll have plenty more where this Harvest Dinner came from.