Last Saturday, Skillet founder Josh Henderson took over the kitchen at Efeste winery in Woodinville and, with culinary assistance from Angie Roberts and Nick Castelberg, put on a dinner. This meal, however, wasn’t Henderson’s signature fare. He wowed the group of 30 with caramelized cauliflower, commingled with romanesco, pancetta, and a golden raising agrodolce, then pieces of cured halibut adorned with radishes, grapefruit, and dill. There was nary a jar of bacon jam or a plate of poutine or kale salad in sight. Efeste winemaker Brennon Leighton (about to head east to work with Charles Smith) supplied wine pairings, and at the end of the six courses, Henderson came to the table and told the assembled group about his plans to remake a Woodinville tavern, inviting each guest to be among the first to check out his new venture.
This access, this insider feeling and a departure from the normal for established local chefs, is what partners Julien Perry and Melissa Peterman are aiming for with their new series of One Night Only dinners. The Henderson-Efeste meal was the first one for which the duo sold tickets; an earlier practice run featured chef Brandon Kirksey sharing the menu from Ethan Stowell’s Rione XIII, two months before the restaurant will open its doors with Kirskey running the kitchen.
One Night Only will put on two such dinners a month, matching a local chef to a winery, brewery, or booze enterprise of some sort. The tickets aren’t cheap, Perry allows; most meals will run between $150 and $250. Perry, a local food writer and general restaurant-tracking type, has a deep well of chef connections and says she aims to deliver both a good value for the money, and an experience that will never be repeated elsewhere.
The next dinner happens August 26th at Bottlehouse in Madrona; Manu Alfau will do a Dominican-style Christmas meal (including a pig roast) to help raise awareness and funds for his upcoming Caribbean sandwich shop in Pioneer Square, while Rob Roy doyenne Anu Apte makes drinks; those tickets are $110. Future evenings include Spring Hill and Ma'ono chef Mark Fuller cooking Mexican food and pairing up with Georgetown Brewing, chef Eric Hellner of the Metropolitan Grill smoking meat instead of doing it medium rare, while newly minted master sommelier Thomas Price does barbecue-friendly wine pairings.
The spaces will vary; Perry says One Night Only is open to private homes or fitting event spaces willing to go friendly on the rates in exchange for a bit of publicity.
The day after each dinner wraps, tickets go on sale for the next one. Signing up for the ONO newsletter is the best way to track what's on the docket.