Forage: A Look Inside the Cville Dinner Series

Posted on November 9, 2012 by

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A Whimsical Picnic, a Moroccan Dinner, inspired by an image, a word, a painting, an old window frame, an ingredient, a recently read book, a movie, a cookbook. The dinner series by forage is just that – inspired.

Cville Niche has attended past supper clubs, but the work – the transformative experience could very well be considered art – of Justin Stone and Megan Kiernan is more than just a dinner with food. It is an immersive experience, and not just for the diners.

forage

“Whimsical Picnic and Preserves” ©Kristen Finn Photography
“We loved the idea of bringing the inside outside, the freedom of it.” – Megan Kiernan

“It’s something we’re always thinking about, tossing ideas around and finding scavenged items for,” explains Justin, adding an anecdote about impulsively stopping by thrift shops and antique stores during a recent road trip through Pennsylvania. “We are always foraging, and when we find an item with potential, we think it could be something at some point! It’s both a lifestyle and an obsession.” Popular local thrifting spots include Sprouse’s Furniture in North Garden, Rivertown Antiques in Scottsville, A&W CollecTables in Keswick, people’s curbs, and, of course, borrowing and reclaiming items from friends.

It all started last Christmas at a dinner party Megan and Justin were throwing for friends.

Over the seasons, their shared creative spark to create and transform space, their “common desire to create environments and culinary experiences,” grew into a successful dinner series. “It’s always something I wanted to do,” adds Megan, Cafe Manager at Feast!, about their venture outside of their normal working lives to collaborate on a passionate project.

The name “forage” lives and breathes in the events. From the weeks of planning – reclaiming and scavenging the decor and creating the seasonal menu with items sometimes literally found in Megan’s backyard or bought from local farmers – to the intimate relationship with the food the night of the dinner, forage instills values of a holistic, communal dining experience and invites all of the senses to the table.

Kristen Finn, a local photographer, captures these dinners through her lens. Her images are simultaneously filled with minute details and the holistic atmosphere of the evenings, freezing the sensory experience in a single frame.

As a photographer, Kristen notices the reactions of guests as they explore the space and experience the dinner – once strangers, they grow more intimate into the evening. “It’s a personal experience, it’s just not the same as going out to dinner,” explains Kristen.

“I get lost in it, stepping into the world they’ve created. It’s like a treasure hunt, discovering odds and ends in trees, hanging windows, even an old wooden wheelchair just sitting there like another seat.”

Small, intimate, quirky, charming, inviting, memorable, sustainable, celebratory, dreamy, whimsical – words shared by Kristen and the other guests to evoke the magic of the dinners. “Every detail is fully thought out, and there is a good blend of people,” adds Kristen. “There are unlimited possibilities to what they can do!”

A snippet of her images are showcased in this article, but be sure to check out the full photo album on the forage facebook page or at Kristen Finn Photography.

“Her pictures are a reminder of why we do it,” explains Justin. “We see the event from such a different perspective when going through her images.”

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We can’t wait to see what Forage does next… Look out for a Hemingway Paris dinner series in the future (with a little inspiration from Midnight in Paris)! “We’ve already started thrifting for it!”

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