You know you’ve done something right when people ask, “when are you going to do this again?”
That was right before I served dessert; a salted, spicy chocolate treat in the shape of, a Lobsta!
No one went hungry and they found out more about Lobster than they ever imagined.
As I was planning and scheming what such an evening would look like, the reminder of ‘first impressions’ for me meant putting my best fish forward and giving my guests a most memorable gastronomic experience, along with a little entertainment!
People get bored with the same old, same old; pay, show up, eat & drink and go home.
After my introduction as their personal Fishionista ™, an amuse-bouche of lobster and a demonstration of making lobster ceviche was underway. To follow that was a short video of my winter lobster fishing adventure and ‘how to cook a lobster’.
I shared sustainable seafood resources and provided tips on buying and storing your lobster. The parts of the lobster was an eye-opener to the group and they learned how to really enjoy all of the lobster.
This particular Pop-Up is meant for me to advocate and share sustainable seafood amongst new friends and now, fans of my Lobster 101 Pop-Ups!
So what is a Pop-Up anyway?
A Pop-Up is a temporary space for a store, a shop, or in my case, it was my very own temporary restaurant. I was stoked!
My inaugural event happened at Perk Kafe in Murray Hill, Manhattan. It is literally steps away from my own kitchen, of which you can view on my cooking series, Put Your Best Fish Forward.
“Finding a location” Check that one off!
Although the name ‘Pop-Up’ may suggest a quick & easy set up, there was a lot of planning behind the scenes to make this a success. You’ve got food purveyors, scouting for a good space, phone calls, favors to ask, and lists upon lists to check off.
I could not have done this without the assistance of a couple of new friends.
“Finding helpers” Check!
My intern, Rebecca Wheeler started shadowing me two weeks prior to the event and I think she returned to Boston with a real ‘take-away’ under her belt. For two weeks we were testing seafood recipes and planning my first Pop-Up. She was a tremendous help.
Another addition to the planning came from the talented Amy Criniti, who is fairly new to NYC but not to interior design and project planning. She literally transformed the space starting with the perfect communal table at Perk and the center of my attention.
Watching her work was a trip! OMG! I think I just came up with the next reality show; A Pop-Up transformation contest!
Amy is my new neighbor and I’ll be feeding her for a while.
“Finding Food”. Check!
Needless to say, I felt blessed to have these people on my team and to have Perk Kafe give my Pop-Up a go. I think they got a kick out of what their space could look like for private events and I got a kick out of pulling it off. I think it would be safe to say that my first Lobster 101 Pop-Up won't be the last!
When I asked the group to give me a testimonial about their experience and to share how they have been describing it to others, here is what they said:
"What a wonderful night! I knew a couple people before the evening started and had a whole new set of friends afterwards! I couldn't recommend it more--a great idea and great concept."
"Very intimate and informative, classy and lovely, yummy lobster and fun group."
"When I told my boyfriend who's a supreme lobster fan, even he was surprised that there are so many edible components."
"Michael-Ann provided myriad tips and tricks for easily breaking down the lobster, which was delectably sweet."
"…we had a pate of lobster roe on crusty bread--divine! While we were munching, she started making a ceviche using all sustainable fish--flounder, lobster, scallops--and explained the term sustainable and what it means."
"Your event was incredibly well executed."
"An intimate, exclusive event that focused on the food without the fluff. Very informative but fun at the same time. Food was incredible!"
If you are interested in coming to the next Lobster101 Pop-Up dinner event, let me know here.