The Making of a New Tradition
Supper Club - a traditional dining establishment that also functions as a social club. The term may describe different establishments depending on the region, but in general, supper clubs tend to present themselves as having a high-class image, even if the price is affordable to all.
It's an early spring day in the south. After a somewhat lengthy drive along winding roads through the lush green forests and bright farmlands north of Shreveport, diners finally stop in front of a gorgeous barn sitting atop well-tended grounds. As car doors open, their ears pick up teasings of hot-club jazz and periodic laughter emanating out with every swing of the big french doors. The walk up the gentle rustic entrance is flanked by overflowing whiskey barrels of herbs and local flowers. Near the door, guests are treated to the themed specialty cocktail (this time, a delicious mixture of Sake, Papaya, and Chinese Five Spice) or a local Great Raft beer. Some say hello to a friendly face or two, and at last they have arrived at the first and foremost meeting of the Pineywoods Supper Club.
Pineywoods Supper Club was founded by Holly & Derek Schreiber (Sainte Terre owners) and Evan & Nicky McCommon (Mahaffey Farms owners) in the pursuit of showcasing regional culinary talent alongside a diverse local food culture. The Pineywoods area encompasses north Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and northeast Texas, and is home to a variety of heritage breed livestock, wild game, fresh fish, and organic produce. The events act as a platform to elevate the cuisine of the region all the while incorporating local musical artists, culinary artists, decorators, designers, and more. Each event is an entire feast for all senses.
Attendees take slow, sweet and savory sips from their cocktails and lazily walk about the room, taking in the view and introducing themselves to others. The dining scene is one long table seating 50, with a signature Pineywoods glass and chopsticks tidily set at each place. The table is a sight to behold. There are golden terrariums nestled among fresh fern, bud vases, and taper candles that are all punctuated by lofty glass vases containing showers of vibrant greenery and red tulips. In a ploy to develop natural conversation, the meal will be served in a family style. There are six phenomenal courses lined up as well as six selected wines, all in the theme of Southern Cuisine with an Asian influence.
- Chopped Baby Lettuces & Herbs, Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette, Sesame Honey Cracklins
- Monmousseau Brut Etoile Cremant NV
- Ham-Hock and Turnip Green Wontons
- Agrigola Tiberio Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2014
- BBQ Shrimp Toast with Remoulade Yum Yum
- Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Bourgogne Blanc Puligny-Montrachet 2013
- Porkbelly Steamed Buns, Mayhaw Gastrique, Dandelion, Pickled Cucumber
- Banshee Pinot Noir Rosé 2015
- Duo of Pork Ramen, Roasted Bone Broth, Slow Egg, Grilled Spring Vegetables
- Brotte Cotes du Rhone Rouge "Esprit Barville" 2013
- Tea-Smoked Brisket and Sticky Cane Syrup Bo Ssam, Pickled Vegetables, Mustard Green Kimchi
- Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo 2012
- Five-Spice Pecan Pots de Creme
- roadbent 5 Year Old Reserve Madeira
As the courses begin to seamlessly enter from the kitchen, the 50 diners, most previously strangers, begin to interact, discuss all manners of things, and become friends. The nature of the family-style service requires interaction and cooperation, and the wine acts as natural lubrication. It is a seemingly never-ending stream of delicious food and wine, and by the end, all have experienced a waltz through a culinary wonderland like most have never experienced.
By the end of the meal, attendees are chatting loudly among themselves, dancing with loved ones, and singing along with the Red River Valley Band, who cast a warm, jazzy feel all over the evening and remain in perfect balance with the energy of the crowd. Founding member Evan McCommon takes to the mic after the final course is served. He encourages all from near and far to become official members of the Pineywoods Supper Club, which aims to host events like these throughout the area about four times a year. Membership is affordable at $100 a year, and gives members access to all such dinners and a portion of the proceeds go to offer scholarship opportunities for youth pursuing schooling in culinary arts, hospitality, and agriculture. At the close, all cheer as Chef Holly Schreiber tears away from the kitchen to say her thanks only to be received by a very deserved standing ovation. It is quite a rare treat to have all these talents in perfect harmony working in one room creating such a remarkable experience. Pineywoods Supper Club, even after a single event, has cemented itself as a dining destination for the region and an event series not to be missed. It has launched a new way of thinking about culinary events, dining, and the concept of neighborhood in general-- a welcome, homegrown change in the culinary-trend-based world that abounds.