Food & Drink » Restaurant Review

A restaurant without walls

Outstanding in the Field takes the table to the farm


  • Photo by Jeremy Fenske

We're all familiar with the locavore trend; you can hardly read a menu these days without absorbing a roll call of our local farmers and food producers. (And that's a good thing.) But what if, instead of the farmer's harvest being brought to your plate, your plate found itself in the center of the farm?

Outstanding in the Field, which bills itself as a "restaurant without walls" and a "roving culinary adventure," is the invention of artist Jim Denevan. His merry band of food fanatics travels North America, setting up their trademark long-stretching white table at local farms and serving the freshest food cooked by the best local chefs.

Here in the Orlando area, OITF is returning for a second year to Dale Volkert's Lake Meadow Naturals poultry farm. Arriving guests will have the chance to tour the farm and talk to Volkert about his farming philosophy while sipping pre-dinner cocktails. Meanwhile, chef Melissa Kelly of Primo (Maine and Orlando), who was profiled by Michael Ruhlman alongside Grant Achatz and Emeril Lagasse in his 2007 book The Reach of a Chef, will be preparing a luxurious meal, each course matched with wine pairings.

It's a mashup of high and low, with hovering wine waiters amid the grassy pasture and Kelly's elegant creations served on mismatched plates (it's an OITF tradition for guests to bring their own) family-style, passed up and down the long table. Getting closer to the source of your food while enjoying a one-of-a-kind culinary happening – how could the learning experience get any better?

3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19
Lake Meadow Naturals, Ocoee;

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