The Shared Table combines dinner club & pop-up dining
Candles flicker in the dimly lit lower courtyard of the Halifax Brewery Market. The tables are draped with hand-stitched tablecloths and the chairs are locally hand stained. This was scene that the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market set, the evening of November 3rd, with their first installment of a new pilot dinner club called The Shared Table.
The Halifax Farmers Market and by extension the Brewery Market, is the oldest farmers market in Halifax, starting in 1750. Albeit an old establishment, they still have some new ideas to bring to the table – their most recent one combines old fashioned dinner clubs with pop-up style dining.
Although dinner clubs began around the 1960s and pop-up dinners on the other hand have been around since the 2000s, both have recently faced a resurgence.
Pop-up style dining even made its way onto Forbes magazine’s list of top five restaurant trends of 2019 so it’s no surprise that people in the food industry are asking – How can I get in on this?
“My personal interests lie in not just agriculture, but in dining together and sharing food experiences,” says Rachael Delano, Co-op Development intern for the market. “I think I wanted to create a project which did three things. Support the market vendors, support the local foodshed and support the community.”
Delano works with Alison Lynes, market manager and program coordinator at the Halifax Brewery Market and together they created The Shared Table.
“70 percent of the food used; we’ve asked to be sourced from the market. 25 percent is sourced from Nova Scotia locally and then the last five percent is sourced from wherever, like sugar for example,” adds Delano.
And of course, it’s a trade-off.
In return for exposure to a new audience the Halifax Brewery Market is giving chefs like the Two Cumpeteers, Emily Wilson and Mark Prudome, who originally started their business in Tofino, BC, but relocated to Halifax in February 2019, opportunities to showcase their skills and be creative without having a permanent space or menu.
The Two Crumpeteers, hosted night one of The Shared Table.
“We were super excited about it, but we were also a little nervous because we didn’t have any idea what was going to happen and how people were going to receive it. All of sudden we sold out. We did it for 50 people.” says Wilson, reflecting on the first night.
“There was a couple hiccups in the beginning but when we came down to it, everything went smooth and everyone seemed to love it. We got lots of good feedback,” says Prudome.
Both the Brewery Market and the Crumpeteers say they are open to doing pop-up style dining or diner clubs in the future.
The Shared Table will run until April 1st, 2020 and has four more chefs yet to showcase.
In the meantime, the Two Crumpeteers can be found at the market most Saturdays from 7am-1pm.