Change is something that most of us human beings are not used to but that is not the case of chef Bo Bech. Since last year he spends most of his time in New York, having left the kitchen of his own restaurant Geist since he considered himself to have become the bottleneck.
He went to the United States and precisely New York with the intention of opening a restaurant but then thought that he would be running away from himself. “I seriously thought about opening a restaurant in New York when I left Copenhagen,” Bo said. “But I realised that if I was going to open a restaurant I would be copying myself. It was like I was running away from myself, like I was chasing my own tail.”
Since then he has organised 16 special events called The Bride of the Fox. These events only exist once. They are organised in different venues like the stage of a theatre or the kitchen of the World’s Best restaurant Eleven Madison Park.
When he arrived in New York, he reflected about what he was curious about and realised that he could not open a restaurant in a different country before he could educate himself so we went on a very long drive across the United States of America to discover the country.
In the process, he has also organised these unique set of events in New York which he calls The Bride of the Fox which have proven to be extremely popular. He sends out an email to a list of subscribers asking them if they want to join the dinner. No payment is requested in advance and he says that places are instantly snapped up.
The challenge he sets himself is to not cook anything that he has done before. “So when I am creating an event, it is like the excitement of that first kiss,” he says.
He told Food and Wine Gazette that it was the venue that actually determined and inspired what he would cook. “For example, when I cooked in the backyard of the Achilles Heel it was the perfect setting for grilling so it ended up being barbecue driven. When I cooked in the kitchen of Eleven Madison Park, that had to respect the spirit of the place,” he said.
I ask him whether it is challenging to find places to host these unique events. “I am fortunate to have a network which makes some locations possible. It would be impossible for someone without such a network to do this,” he said.
Bo is loving the experience because these are very intimate dinners where the guests are also investing a lot in terms of their time. “The investment of the guests has really surprised me,” he said. The dinners are normally announced on the same day they will be held meaning that the guests have to drop whatever plans they have to book a table and they don’t know the location in the first place.”
“The main difference between the events is the location and the pairing of guests,” he said.
Is this a concept that can work only in New York, I ask? “There is a huge change going on everywhere and this can work anywhere. Ultimately it is about being present and its about bringing a group of people together,” he said.
There will be no more events in 2017 as he will be focusing on launching two books in Denmark in September and November and then he will be travelling but he will return back with a ‘second season’ of the Bride of the Fox events.
Why haven’t you considered pre-payment for the events which is becoming the norm, I ask Bo? He tells me that so far he was lucky that people have understood the energy that goes into the events but ‘we do live in a community where not everyone has an understanding of the word respect and therefore restaurants need to adjust to this,” he said.
Bo still hopes to open a restaurant in New York but for the time being New Yorkers will have to wait to 2018 for the next round of The Bride of the Fox events.