Theory Kitchen: A Dining Experience Unlike Any Other

by Caroline Gentile ’17

On a recommendation from my blockmate, I decided to escape the Harvard bubble and attend a pop-up dinner at an apartment in Central Square, hosted by Theory Kitchen.

After a cursory Google search of Theory Kitchen, I learned that the founder, Theo Friedman, is a recent Tufts grad with a passion for experimental cooking. While he was a student at Tufts, Friedman hosted several pop-up dinners and taco nights with the help of fellow students. In fact, for his senior thesis, he made a 20-course meal to highlight how the industrial food system disconnects diners and the people who make their food. After graduating, Theo took to operating Theory Kitchen full time, hosting pop-up dinners all over New England. No two dinners are the same; the menu and location change every time.

I knew this was going to be good. Anyone who finds time to cook anything, let alone a full gourmet meal, while in college must have a true passion for it! And Theo’s passion certainly translated into skill.

Although Google told me that Friedman was only 22-years-old, upon walking into the apartment, I was surprised to see someone so close to my age prepping an eleven-course meal. His workspace, complete with serving equipment as well as Tupperware containers filled with the elements of each course, was impeccably organized—even more impressive considering the kitchen in which he was working was totally new to him.

And then the dinner began. Before each course, Theo explained the story behind the food before us. The salmon dish, he told us, was inspired by bagel and lox. The last course, a kumquat and rhubarb fruit roll-up, was inspired by his childhood love for fruit roll-ups. In addition to deconstructing the story behind each meal, we were also able to watch them be prepared. This interactive environment with the chef himself created a level of intimacy in this dining experience that I do not think is possible at a restaurant.

IMG_7886.JPG
Bagel and lox: salmon coated with everything bagel seasoning, a savory bulgur mixture, salmon eggs and roe (photo courtesy of Theo Friedman)
IMG_8018.JPG
Gourmet fruit roll-ups (photo courtesy of Theo Friedman)

Not only did each course have a unique story, but each also boasted unique flavors and textures. The first course was a warm sunchoke soup with cold scallops, both of which were savory, paired with sweet pomegranate seeds. Another course, a favorite among all of us dinner-goers, was a soy-flavored, poached egg, with yolk oozing over kale and crispy shiitake mushrooms.

IMG_7820.JPG
Sunchoke and scallops (photo courtesy of Theo Friedman)

Of note, in my opinion, were the desserts. This may be because I have an insatiable sweet tooth, but I found Theo’s three desserts to be especially creative. First came his grapefruit, fernet, and dill dessert. Never had I expected to eat dill for dessert, and in a meringue no less! Then came rice crispy treats, another childhood-inspired dish, which combined crispy pork skin and creamy dulce du leche. Finally was my favorite dessert: a chocolate and peppercorn cake with preserved strawberries.

Rice Crispy.JPG
Rice Crispy Treat (photo courtesy of Theo Friedman)
image1.JPG
Grapefruit, fernet, and dill dessert
image2.JPG
Preserved strawberries, cream, and chocolate peppercorn cake

The other event attendees, many of them also undergraduates, were just as in awe as I was of Theo’s creative cooking skills. Each course brought an exciting new combination of flavors and textures that we could not believe he had put together in such a deliciously harmonious way. Although we had all been complete strangers before the dinner, by the end, we had all shared a novel culinary experience together, and bonded over our admiration for Theo and his cooking.

Plating Food in Annenberg

by Emily Brother ’19

Inspired by the instagram chef, Jacques La Merde, who mimicked the plating techniques of haute cuisine using junk food, I attempted to create my own gourmet-looking dishes using the food from Annenberg. Here are a few of the plates that I made:

  1. Vegetarian Frittata Garnished with Carrots, Greens, and Tabasco Sauce

IMG_4240

2. Sausage Links with Quinoa Raising & Black Bean Salad and Barbeque Sauce

IMG_4263

3. Vegetarian Chili with Lettuce, Green Pepper Sauce, and Dijon Mustard

IMG_4279

4. Pound Cake with Yogurt and Red Wine Vinaigrette

IMG_4296

5. Chicken Bake with Lima Beans and Ketchup

IMG_4305

6. Carrots, Cucumber, and Corn with Balsamic Vinegar

IMG_4327

  1. Granola and Yogurt with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly

IMG_4338

8. Herb Roasted Chicken with Penne Pasta and Puttanesca Sauce
IMG_4358

Harvard Square Tasting Tour: a Culinary Adventure with a Twist

by Orlea Miller ’16

harvard-statue

Bored of the typical Harvard Square eats? Bogged down by midterms? Take a break next Saturday afternoon and take advantage of all that the Square has to offer.

The Harvard Square Tasting Tour is led by Trademark Tours (The Hahvahd Tour; City Wine Tours) and combines history and trivia with an afternoon full of culinary treats. Leaving from Out of Town News at 3 pm, the tour stops at local artisan stops and restaurants including Cardullo’s, Grafton Street, Salt & Olive, Follow the Honey, Russell House Tavern, and PARK.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite (http://www.eventbrite.com/e/harvard-square-tasting-tour-tickets-18100557254) for $43 and include samples at each store and light bites and cocktails at the restaurants.

CocktailsDeviled Eggs

Tour Overview (provided by Grafton Group):

Start: Cambridge Information Booth, located at 1376 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Cardullo’s: Browse delicious gourmet imports at this iconic Harvard Square grocery, and learn about the shop’s history.

Grafton Street: Quick approaching its 20th anniversary in the Square, Grafton Street is the neighborhood destination for perfectly pulled pints and thoughtful fare.

Grafton Street Sign

Salt & Olive: Much like wine, olive oil and vinegars have complex aromatic flavor profiles that, when understood, can greatly improve a dish. Owner Mary Taylor will guide us through a hands on tasting!

Follow the HoneyDid you know it takes 1,125 bees foraging 2,000 flowers to create one pound of honey? Learn all about the amazing world of bees and enjoy a side by side taste test of three honeys from diverse origins led by owner Caneen Canning.

Russell House TavernYou’re at the heart of Harvard Square when you’re at Russell House Tavern. An elevation of the local, neighborhood tavern experience, Russell House offers seasonally inspired American fare alongside a carefully edited and locally influenced drink list.

Patio At Night_6

PARK Restaurant & Bar: Located in the “Lower JFK” area of Harvard Square, PARK is a vibrant destination for friends, family and acquaintances to linger over lively conversation, playful plates and thoughtful drinks.

Tasting of Toasts 3

Hungry for more?

In addition to the three signature dish and cocktail pairings you’ll enjoy along the way, Grafton Group is offering Tasting Tour participants 10% off food at any of their four properties! Settle in to your favorite spot, show your server your Tasting Tour ticket and sit, dine, drink and linger – at a discount!

*Discount is only valid on the day of your tour.

Pictures provided by Grafton Group.