On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, organizer Grover Smith and chefs Brett Cooper and Tim Ma join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Commune. Billed as an "anti-food festival," Commune will bring 200 chefs to Houston's Heights House Hotel from August 21 to September 5.
The event evolved out of the Indie Chefs Week events Smith has been organizing for five years. They simultaneously allow chefs to form relationships with like-minded peers and allow diners to sample food from rising stars in the culinary world; for example, five Indie Chefs alumni participated in the most recent season of Top Chef.
Part of what makes Commune so appealing is that diners have a wide range of price points to choose from. A pop-up that unites two Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants, Konbi from Los Angeles and Turkey & the Wolf from New Orleans, only costs $40. However, a collaboration dinner that unites four alumni of legendary California restaurants Manresa and Ubuntu, starts at $250 per person.
Smith notes that the heart of the experience will be the night street markets where 15 chefs will cook in custom hawker stalls created by local design firm Gin Design Group. "It is getting quite the transformation," Smith says about the hotel. "I want people to take pictures of this and have people go 'are you in Singapore?' I think we've accomplished it."
Tickets for Commune are on sale now. The organizers will add more events between now and when the event starts.