'A good mystery' at Supper Society

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 20, 2012 

The inaugural Supper Society event, a secretive pop-up dinner that raised money for the Historic Beaufort Foundation and Main Street Beaufort, USA, was held Thursday. Organizers announced the dinner weeks ago, but kept the location and menu secret until two days before, when details were emailed to attendees.


Robin Boozer couldn't stop checking her email Tuesday as she waited for the details to arrive.

"All the mystery of it was fabulous, because everyone loves a good mystery," she said.

She was thrilled when the information arrived and she learned she'd be dining on the roof of Old Bay Marketplace.

Dallas and Nancy Renner missed the call Tuesday night, but first thing Wednesday, they called and claimed four tickets from a waiting list.

Come Thursday night, they all had seats at the inaugural Supper Society event, a secretive pop-up dinner to raise money for the Historic Beaufort Foundation and Main Street Beaufort, USA.

Organizers announced the dinner weeks ago but kept the location and menu secret until two days before, when details were emailed to attendees. Tickets sold out quickly, so additional seats were added and a waiting list was created. Tickets are sold for each supper on a first come, first served basis.

The Supper Society will meet several times a year in different locations with various local "celebrity" chefs in charge of the menu, Main Street Beaufort executive director LaNelle Fabian said. Thursday's supper was planned for the roof of Old Bay Marketplace, but was moved inside because of rain. Proceeds will go to a new preservation and restoration grant program jointly administered by the organizations, said Historic Beaufort Foundation executive director Julie Good. Details of the program are still being worked out, but she is excited the groups will have a formal partnership to improve downtown Beaufort.

Chefs Brian Waters of Saltus River Grill and Christopher Hewitt of Southern Graces Bistro teamed up for Thursday's meal. It started with local oysters with a verjus sorbet, micro scallions and cracked pepper mèlange, and ended with desserts of sweet tea and pecan panna cotta, sorghum sticky pudding and strawberry shortcake with Chantilly cream.

As she broke open a popover, Jean Wolff said she thinks there's a growing appeal in the region for more "sophisticated" food like Thursday's menu. Even though she didn't know what would be served, she bought the $65 tickets almost as soon as the dinner was announced.

"There's a lot of risks in life," her husband, Cyril, said with a laugh. "This is different, unusual, and you know the food is going to be good. The format is just fun."

Although chefs will design their own menus, the four-course meals will be made from local ingredients. Diners bring their own beverages.

Organizers are seeking suggestions for "exclusive" locations for future suppers, so attendees have an opportunity to dine in unusual places. It is a local take on a national trend, usually in larger areas, that combines mystery and intrigue with unusual menus and locations. Originally concerned about selling tickets, Fabian was encouraged by the initial interest.

And some diners like the Wolffs can't wait for the next one.

"They said two to four a year," Cyril Wolff said. "I hope it's four."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.

Related content:

Historic Beaufort Foundation

Main Street Beaufort

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