It's About Community
"We don't need bigger cars or fancier clothes. We need self-respect, identity, community, love, variety, beauty, challenge and a purpose in living that is greater than material accumulation." Donella Meadows
Let's talk about community. If you have been to a previous Sunday Supper, you know that when Chef Ben Hamrah speaks up, it's typically to lavish praise on someone else.
Whether it's Chef Amanda Elliot who shines on these most special gastronomic nights, Justin, who is always there with a smile and a new drink to keep your whistle wet, his own family members who are close by (sometimes working alongside), a vendor who has supplied something of theirs to tie a dish together or to actually provide the dishes themselves. Ben has made these dinners about building the Peachtree community and has invited the diners in with him.
What we have noticed after attending a number of these dinners is that it has become less about the food (but don't read into that and think it isn't about the food at all) and more about the people who pull these gatherings off. This ethos was on full display at June's Sunday Supper.
When you looked around the Logboat Brewing tasting room, site of the most recent Sunday Supper, and saw between the 100+ diners enjoying things like provaletta, pork tostones with smashed plantains, and thai fermented sausage stuffed squid, you saw the numerous hands running around roasting, grilling, plating and serving. And maybe you would think, why do they need so many people here? But, I think you miss the point when you think it is a need rather than an intentional decision.
Pride is a fickle thing. It infiltrates us all and sometimes leads to success, but more than not it leads to broken relationships and heartache. In the food industry, especially for a chef, it is often what successful restaurants are built on. But what was obvious for all to see at this last Sunday Supper was that many hands make light (and delicious) work. With guys from Barred Owl Butcher and Table, Chef Jess from Cafe Berlin, Chef Anthony from Blue Bell Farm and help from Logboat Brewing, A1 Party and Event Rentals, Stem to Table Farm, Hempsley, and more, this was a community dinner.
What this speaks to is the lack of pride that Ben and Amanda have in creating successful events and a true desire to see young chefs, servers, and businesses thrive through whatever means they can have a hand in. They desire to see a true revolution in Columbia food culture and want to be the catalyst for such change. And sometimes that means stepping aside and letting some other standup chefs take a crack at your project and praise them for knocking it out of the park.
When done right and in good spirits, everyone walks away with a greater appreciation for the community to which they belong.