How did you get into doing pop ups?
I personally worked at a pop up for about a year and a half while doing all sorts of other fun food adventures. Stag originally set out to change up the usual culinary experiences we loved and didn’t like, all to throw parties but with a different tune. Always working on incorporating activities and interests that each one of its founders held close to themselves, but sharing it with our guests in the form of dinners that were more than just great food. Why? Collectively as friends the Stags (which at this point we were not calling ourselves Stag Dining Group) were looking for a reason to launch something fun, maybe a restaurant or food truck, but something. The goal was to throw these outside the box, communal and festive events, highlighting our passions both in and out of the kitchen, and celebrating others in their craft. Well, the goal of that was to find a community of people and grab attention of San Francisco so when we do “launch" whatever we decide there will be a following and support. Of course assuming that people will enjoy what we do to begin with.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I feel like the list is rather large, for every milestone you hit there is something else that challenges you the same. Pop-ups come generally with inconsistency. Venues change and are tough to come by. Getting the crowds to come. We also like to throw 60-100 person events where everyone sits together, just sit and think about all those potential issues. Formulating the balance of a growing business ( let’s be honest the goal was to eventually graduate to something with something else) and keeping your roots and mission the same.
Thinking outside the box, which generally stretches and tests limits of what is normal or general, sometimes just enough and other times more than feels comfortable………and then seeing it through of course not without happy guests as well as a staff of dedicated cooks, servers and guest artisans who collectively pulled off something extremely special.
How long have you been doing pop ups?
What were you doing before?
I was doing a bunch of small consulting jobs, pretending (but accomplishing) I was making cheese, which I sold for a short while. Working with another pop-up for about a year. Co-EC at Alembic for 2 years. Executive Chef and Sous Chef at Wolfgang’s Postrio for 3.5 years. Campton Place for Chef Daniel Humm.
Why did you switch to pop ups?
Having worked with one for a while and a year later deciding on what the founders of Stag, wanted Stag to actually become, it seemed like a natural and great way to have fun building something from the ground up.
Will you continue doing pop ups in the future?
Until the world decides on a new term for it, but YES. I feel like any random food event where chefs come and cook at another chefs restaurant or host anything out of the usual will forever be called a pop-up. 5 years ago we called our dinners clandestine dinners (The Clandestine Dinner Series) as to shy away from the all to trendy and abused terminology that we felt pinned us into this perception of what we are before ever experiencing us. But, yes we were hosting pop-up dinners.
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