This summer, Walrus and Carpenter Oysters is proud to present their 4th Annual Oyster Farm Dinner Series with Al Forno, Avenue N, birch, Blue Hill NY, Gracie’s, north, Persimmon and Tallulah on Thames. Each dinner features a tour of the farm, an in-the-water raw-bar, a multi-course dinner prepared by a chef committed to sourcing local seafood, and wine selections by the experts at Bottles Fine Wine. The dinner series will be produced by Eat Drink RI.
Each of the eight dinner experiences begin at 3 p.m. with a boat ride and tour of the 6-acre offshore oyster farm, with discussion and time for questions about the local ecosystem and environmental benefits of oyster farming. Following the tour, guests will enjoy an in-the-water raw bar featuring freshly harvested Walrus and Carpenter Oysters. After the raw bar, experience Rhode Island’s stunning East Beach with a view of the open Atlantic Ocean (swimming encouraged!), followed by the seated multi-course dinner paired with wine. Boats will return to land around 7:30 p.m.
Last year this series sold out in 4 minutes. Tickets for the 2016 dinners will go on sale Monday, May 16th at 9 a.m. at www.walrusandcarpenteroysters.com. Below is the schedule of chefs for this year.
Monday, July 18th | Chef Matthew Varga of Gracie’s
Varga is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, and began working at Gracie’s in 2007. He was promoted to Executive Chef in 2010. Since then, Gracie’s has won the AAA four-diamond award five years in a row for their seasonally-inspired cuisine and impeccable service. Varga has been featured in Art Culinaire and as a guest chef for the Democratic Governors Association Taste of America gala.
Tuesday, July 19th | Chef Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames & Tallulah’s Taqueria
Rojas originates from El Paso, Texas and is a graduate of the Culinary Art Institute of Dallas. In 2014, he received a StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Award. Some of his earlier career tours include Sous Chef at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion & Chef de Partie at Alain Ducasse’s Mix. Jake’s restaurants embody the flavors from his childhood, with technique from his experiences working with the best culinary leaders in the country.
Wednesday, July 20th | Chef Meytal Kotik of Blue Hill NY
Meytal is the chef de cuisine of Blue Hill in New York City. Transforming daily, the menu focuses on local food sourced from producers who respect artisanal techniques. Ingredients come from nearby farms, including Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. Following culinary school, Meytal worked for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group before joining the Blue Hill team.
Thursday, July 21st | Chef Nick Rabar of Avenue N
Nick has been cooking in Rhode Island ever since relocating from Upstate New York in 2001. He spent his first 10 years in Providence before opening Avenue N American Kitchen in the historic Rumford Center in Rumford, RI. He describes his food as approachable, progressive American fare that is guided by the seasons. He is the Emmy Nominated host of Nick Rabar: Chef 2 Go, 2-time Chef of the Year for the state of Rhode Island, has been named one of the Best and Brightest Young American Chefs. Chef Rabar sits on the board of directors at Hope & Main and has made numerous appearances on the Food Network.
Monday, August 15th | Chef David Reynoso of Al Forno
Reynoso is the executive chef at the internationally renowned Al Forno restaurant, where local ingredients shine in dishes cooked in wood-burning ovens and on grills over hardwood charcoal fires. He is the recipient of many accolades, including StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Award. For this dinner, David will be tapping into his roots with a meal inspired by his birthplace, Mexico. Chef Reynoso’s menus feature seasonal New England ingredients, as well as a variety of cultural and culinary influences.
Tuesday, August 16th | Chef Benjamin Sukle of birch & Oberlin
Sukle takes a “from the roots up” approach to all aspects of the dining experience, expressing the best of New England through a creative, modern and environmentally engaging menu. Ben received a 2014 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Award, and has been twice nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef. He has been nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef and Best Chef New England.
Wednesday, August 17th | Chef Champe Speidel of Persimmon & Persimmon Provisions
Speidel is the chef and owner of Persimmon Restaurant, newly transplanted from Bristol to Providence’s East Side at 99 Hope Street in the former Rue de L’Espoir space. He has been serving contemporary American cuisine in harmony with the seasons since 2005. In 2010 he opened Persimmon Provisions in Barrington, a whole-animal butchery with well-curated cheeses, charcuterie and pantry items. Speidel is a six-time nominee for Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation and recently was honored by his Alma Mater Johnson & Wales University as their 2016 Honorary Doctoral Candidate.
Thursday, August 18th | Chef James Mark of north & north bakery
Mark is the cook/owner/plumber/garbageman/shoveler/gopher/cat wrangler of north and north bakery. In 2014, James received the StarChefs.com 2014 Coastal New England Rising Star Community Chef award for his philanthropic commitment to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Prior to north, James worked at Nicks on Broadway and Thee Red Fez. In 2008 he helped open Momofuku Ko in NYC, and a year later he helped open Momofuku Milk Bar.
Please be aware that each dinner experience involves wading in ankle to knee-deep water, and a 15-minute walk to the beach, so dress accordingly. Guests who choose to take a swim are encouraged to wear bathing suits and bring a change of clothes. Boats will begin to depart from Charlestown, RI at 2:30 p.m., with the final boat departing at 3 p.m. Tickets are $225.00 per guest, all-inclusive, and will go on sale Monday, May 16th at 9 a.m. at www.walrusandcarpenteroysters.com.