This month we are thrilled to partner with the team at Outerlands, a restaurant in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, to celebrate the launch of our new Open Kitchen collection. Outerlands is known for its menu of seasonal food and rustic dishes and the strong sense of community created by the space — it’s no surprise the restaurant has become a legend among locals. Read our interviews with the owners, chefs and experts behind Outerlands and try their original recipes here.
For the team at Outerlands, food and community converge; meals are a way for people to gather together, relax, and enjoy a shared experience. It’s no surprise that making the food becomes part of the dining experience, too.
“At home, we try to involve everybody in the process and have it be something we share together, not just a serving experience,” says Lana Porcello, the restaurant’s co-owner. “Maybe a friend was at the market and brings a bunch of ingredients over, and we try to make a meal around it, all hands on deck. We want it to feel very casual, with everyone pooling their energy and feeling comfortable — eating with their hands and feeling like there’s an interface with the food that’s very personal and intimate rather than structured and separated.”
And that exactly sums up the team’s approach to our Dinner with Outerlands, a meal that was created by Brett but involves everyone in the process. Starting with fresh, local ingredients sourced from a nearby farmers’ market, Brett prepared the main dishes — Mushroom Mousse, Braised Lamb Shanks, Roasted Sunchokes & Carrots and a Farro Salad with Prunes & Shallots — while the rest of the group assembled a beautiful salad and poured glasses of wine for the table.
“The inspiration for this meal was the people,” says Brett. “They were people I knew, and I knew what they liked to eat and what would be fun for us to eat together, so it was really a celebration of us being together, as friends. It was about cooking simple, tasty food that we could all appreciate and have fun conversing over.”
For Brett, that also meant getting the crowd involved in the meal, from prep to serving. “People just jumped in when they felt comfortable or saw something fun they wanted to contribute,” he says. “It was very organic.”
His tip for pulling it off at home: “Don’t be worried about something coming out differently or not to your liking. Use the recipes as an idea, and make them taste how you like. Add or subtract what you will, and just enjoy the time.”
Finally, keep the vibe casual and relaxed by serving dishes family style. “Low stress for the cook,” Brett adds.
Look through the gallery below to see Brett and the team bring their cooking and entertaining philosophies to life.
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[…] meals are a way for people to gather together, relax, and enjoy a shared experience. Recently Williams-Sonoma Taste featured one of Outerland’s collective meals in which staff, family and friends cook […]
[…] Outerlands: The Making of the Meal For the team at Outerlands, food and community converge; meals are a way for people to gather together, relax, and enjoy a shared experience. Read more about their approach and browse through our gorgeous gallery here. […]