A Long Dinner
Breathtaking al fresco dinner combines talents of top Austin chef and world renowned land artist
We've all heard the joke about the wonderful farmer who is "Outstanding in the Field" — the name of this jaw-dropping outdoor dinner series. But this artsy venture takes its presentation very seriously. (When's the last time you had a dinner with its own Wikipedia page?)
American Express, which sponsors the biggest headlining stage at Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), is keeping the party going between weekends with an installment of an international al fresco dining series. This one will be catered by an Austin chef with an incredible amount of national momentum: Suerte and Este's Femín Nuñez.
Scenery is provided by the host, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, which recently announced a new preservation and expansion plan. The grounds of this outdoor museum frequently contain events, and this prestigious dinner comes at an important time for Umlauf — in the middle of fundraising season.
The series, powered by online reservation system Resy and picked up by Amex for a limited run, is famous for its long tablescape, snaking through open fields and gardens; It should be extra picturesque in the artful space.
The Outstanding in the Field dinner series was first produced in 1999 by "land artist" Jim Denevan, who is famous for his crop circle-like aerial mandalas on beaches. The pastoral series has been held in all 50 states and more than 24 countries since then. Each dinner is different by nature (literally) of settling into a different environment. Guest chefs are also carefully chosen from each city's highest ranks and tasked with showcasing local products.
Photo courtesy of Resy and Outstanding in the Field
"Just like every event Outstanding in the Fields does, it is truly unique to the place they are hosting, and they do not try to replicate a different part of the world," wrote Chef Nuñez in an email to CultureMap. "With that in mind, there is only one Suerte and one Este, so it will be unique in the way that we will be doing our food! We will be serving our tortillas that you can only get here at our restaurants in Austin."
The menu is still under wraps, but it will include welcome beverages and passed appetizers, a multi-course family-style dinner, dessert, and curated wine pairings. Some of the ingredients on the table will come from Este Garden, the farm behind the popular coastal Mexican restaurant.
As festival season gears up and the chef continues stepping out of his own restaurant, he looks to new environments to keep new ideas coming.
"Travel is my main way of staying creative," writes Nuñez. "When I have to be in town and can't travel, books and food festivals that I am a part of are also a great way to get the creative juices flowing. It's exactly what I need to keep creating!"
The dinner is part of American Express' third annual Member Week, which sets retail deals and plans high-profile events, including a special Olivia Rodrigo concert streaming on YouTube. At ACL, cardmembers and their friends can pick up some pre-owned festival fashions from a Depop pop-up within the "Amex Experience" area, claim a digital collectible, and enjoy a second-story bar with stage views. There will also be a premium lounge for certain Amex cardholders, and other cashless perks.
Although the dinner is an American Express event, anyone can purchase a ticket ($275). Reserve ASAP on Resy, as space is limited. The dinner starts at 5 pm and guests must be 21 or older to attend.
There will also be two more dinners in Austin, both at Boggy Creek Farm. One is sold out, but tickets are still available for the second event, on October 15. This dinner will feature Chef Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis, and will be more expensive ($375).
The "caravan" will also visit Dallas at Bonton Farms (featuring chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum) on October 12, and the San Antonio area at Peeler Farms (featuring Chef Patrick Jackson of Paperboy and Full Goods Diner) on October 18.