Good Eats 2011
Foodie News

Dinner theater: Pilot Light chefs offer a casual new pop-up venture

Dinner theater: Pilot Light chefs offer a casual new pop-up venture

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Tomato soup and grilled cheese? Gruyere-crusted bread baked inside a tomato soup can, served with a tomato aspic Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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A sweet-n-sour palate cleanser: Frozen grapes kicked up with grape juice and sherry vinegar Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Lamb tartare served with a goat's milk curry, pickled apples, cilantro stems and pistachio Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Black sesame noodles topped with uni at Pilot Light's inaugural dinner last summer at Revival Market Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Gulf shrimp served on seaweed with hazelnut foam and celery leaves Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Terrence Gallivan wields his tweezers to the delight of diners everywhere. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner in the kitchen at Revival Market Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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It’s confirmed: The creative duo behind the Pilot Light Restaurant Group is heating up the kitchen again. As they work toward a regular restaurant location, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan are hosting communal 8-person dinners to hone their chefery, work towards a menu, and get to know their patrons.

This past summer hundreds of people waited patiently outside Revival Market in the searing heat for tickets to the duo’s most recent meals. Limited seating for the dinners and only three nights to choose from meant many were turned away disappointed. And the chefs just weren’t OK with that.

 Perhaps the most alluring aspect to these meals is the opportunity to interact with the chefs in a dinner-theater of sorts. 

 The new dinners, dubbed "inResidence," began quietly several weeks ago as a way to accommodate demand. Those commitments now honored, Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan are opening their kitchen again, just in time for the season of celebration.

Both chefs are well pedigreed, boasting stays at globally renowned restaurants like The Fat Duck, Danny Meyer's The Modern, Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, Aquavit, Viajante, August, and Aureole, among others. Here in Houston they’ve launched several successful pop-up ventures and now are offering this new opportunity as they work toward a permanent spot in town.

If you’ve sampled their style before, you already know how expertly they play with flavors, textures, and accouterments. Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan take food that’s familiar and add unlikely elements and creative combinations; they are masterful mixers, skilled with their skillets, offering creative cookery and enticingly edible art. These new meals are the essence of the duo's desire for a casual dining experience in a contemporary setting.

Perhaps the most alluring aspect to these meals is the opportunity to interact with the chefs in a dinner-theater of sorts. An intimate setting and small group allow diners to witness the process up close and interact with the chefs: Watch as they use simple kitchen instruments to whip up unspeakably remarkable dishes, take notes on their perfect plating, question their choice of ingredients, and vow to replicate their culinary prowess at home (while silently knowing you never, ever could). 

Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians, and carnivores alike: They’ve even been known to prepare special creations for those with a baby bump. So grab a group or go it alone — just be sure to go.

The new dinners are five courses, with a few extras thrown in for good measure, and BYOB. The cost is $88 per person, paid in advance. The location varies; call 832-713-7574 to reserve a spot, and one of the chefs will fill you in on the options, and follow @PilotLightRG on Twitter for more news and announcements.

Check out Seth Siegel-Gardner's "inResidence" video preview: