With an annual fee of $165, Tasting Collective spotlights a different local restaurant each month and invites members to attend a five-course dinner from the chef where attendees also provide feedback on dishes served. Dinner tickets are $65 per person, with revenue from the sales going directly to the restaurants. Tasting Collective dinners are typically held on nights when a restaurant is closed to the public.
“Instead of trying to monetize ticket sales, we make money via the annual membership fee that our members pay us to be able to purchase tickets to our events (only members can buy tickets to our events),” says Tasting Collective founder Nat Gelb.
For chefs, hosting Tasting Collective dinners offers them an opportunity to transform their restaurants into test kitchens for one night to try out new recipes. Part of the event includes the chef participating in a Q&A with diners during the final course. Comment cards are provided to members at the beginning of the meal, which they fill out in order to rate and give feedback on each dish. Gelb refers to the Tasting Collective experience as the “anti-Yelp.”
The first set of Tasting Collective dinners in Atlanta take place at Little Bear in Summerhill with chef Jarrett Stieber June 14 and June 15 and June 25 and June 28. Look for Tasting Collective dinners at Tio Lucho’s in Poncey-Highland with chef Arnaldo Castillo in July, followed by A Mano in the Old Fourth Ward with chef Chris Suarez in September.
Dinner dates are usually released to members about two weeks prior to an event. Members can then choose to attend or skip an event.
First launched in New York City in 2016, Tasting Collective now features over 10,000 members with chapters in cities like Boston, Portland, New Orleans, Nashville, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Days after launching in Boston last year, the city’s Tasting Collective membership already had 1,500 members.
Underground supper clubs like Tasting Collective are nothing new in Atlanta. Monthly supper club Heritage, founded by chef Demetrius Brown, explores the diverse ingredients, dishes, and culinary traditions found in Caribbean, Afro-Latin, and Afro-American cuisine. Dinner series Delle Dining, run by Nadia Deljou, fuses food, music, art, and Persian culture together for a multi-sensory dining experience. Supper club Chow Club Atlanta, operated by Amanda Plumb and Yohana Solomon, offers exclusive pop-up dinners to its members each month featuring both home cooks and local chefs.
Chow Club Atlanta launches a new year-long chefs residency called Chow a la Carte at Uptown Test Kitchen May 26. Over the course of the next year, seven local chefs and guest chefs take over Uptown Test Kitchen at the Uptown Atlanta development in Lindbergh for lunch and dinner, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, serving dishes from countries like Nigeria, Colombia, and the Philippines.
People interested in a Tasting Collective membership invitation can request one online. The first 500 members in Atlanta pay $99 to join and are locked in at that annual rate. People who join after the initial 500 members pay $165 per year.