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January 10, 2012 
 
 
DC's Hottest Dinner Party

Hear from ABC's White House correspondent and a former Obama advisor. Our next Bisnow event is this Thursday. Sign up!

 
Last year, Jill Richmond introduced DC to the pop-up restaurant trend with her Number 68 Project, a nine-week dinner series featuring top chefs and thought-provoking speakers. Now, she's taking the dinner party to the next level with a culinary membership society called the Coterie.
 
Jill Richmond
Jill, whose background is in economic development, began the Number 68 Project in London two years ago. A friend had just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and Jill helped her dip a toe in the restaurant world by putting together a series of pop-up dinners at 68 Boleyn Road (hence the name). Half way through, it was too big a commitment for the friend, but they'd already pre-sold the dinners. Jill turned to other top chefs in London to pick up the remaining weeks, and the success of the concept gained attention from the BBC and other British media. When she returned to DC for a job at the World Bank, Jill launched the Number 68 Project here. Interesting characters like ABC News chief foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz and DC Central Kitchen founder Robert Egger provoked discussion while chefs, including Graffiato's Mike Isabella and Equinox's Todd Gray, prepared multi-course tasting menus around varying themes chosen from fortune cookies. Each week's dinner (capped at 45 guests) sold out. Now, Jill is going bigger and badder.
The Coterie
The Coterie will host quarterly culinary salon dinners similar to the Number 68 Project dinners but with three or four chefs teaming up on the menu. There will also be monthly Sunday cocktail parties featuring top mixologists and "fireside chats" with special guests like Obama on a Couch author Justin Frank and neuroscientist (and winning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant) Ogi Ogas. Anyone can buy tickets, but memberships ($504 annually) will include admission to three cocktail parties, 20% off the salons, and access to special tasting menus at partnering restaurants like Birch & Barley, Fiola, and Bibiana. Members will also be able to continue their conversations or find new dining partners through a private online social networking platform. To join the society, would-be members must answer Proustian questions like "What's your idea of earthly happiness?" and "Who are you favorite heroes and heroines of fiction?" Jill tells us the answers are also given to the speakers and used to plan the seating chart.
The Coterie culinary salon
The Coterie soft-launched in December with a culinary salon at Logan Circle's Fathom Creative Gallery centered around Hemingway in 1920s Paris. Bibiana's Nick Stefanelli (far right) joined chefs and mixologists from Birch & Barley, PS7's, and The Gibson to prepare an 8-course feast, while cocktail historian Phil Greene led a discussion. The Coterie will officially kick off on Feb. 1, and other cities are not far behind. The Coterie is coming to Philadelphia and Chicago in the next eight months with plans to expand to two more cities every year. (Members will be able to attend other cities' events.) Meanwhile, Jill is phasing out of her work for the World Bank to focus on the Coterie, making her a full-time dinner party host.

Bisnow
Top Chefs Step in for RJ Cooper
 
RJ Cooper
Rogue 24 chef RJ Cooper (right) is taking leave from his restaurant over the next ten weeks to undergo and recover from open heart surgery. (The procedure, scheduled for today, will correct a genetic heart defect known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.) While he's away, other top chefs from around the country will be using his alleyway restaurant as their culinary playgrounds. Each week, the rotating group of chefs will prepare a dozen of their own dishes accompanied by a dozen Rogue 24 favorites. Mixologists Derek Brown and Beverage Director JP Fetherston will prepare wine and drink pairings.
Rogue 24
VOLT chef Bryan Voltaggio kicks off the "Rogue Sessions" today and has already sold out the entire week. Tim Byres, chef and owner of SMOKE Restaurant in Dallas, will bring some barbeque expertise to the menu the following week. Check out the rest of the participating chefs below. The tickets will be sold through Gilt City week by week for $185 with $10 going to Share our Strength.

José Andrés and Ruben Garcia (Washington, D.C.)
Chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup and 2011 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef

Jennifer Carroll (Philadelphia, PA)
Chef/owner of Carroll Couture Cuisine, formerly of 10Arts by Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin, and season 6 of Top Chef

John Currence (Oxford, MS)
Chef/Owner of City Grocery Restaurant Group, 2009 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef South, and season 3 of Top Chef Masters

Scott Drewno (Washington, D.C.)
Chef of The Source and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2010 Chef of the Year

Katsuya Fukushima (Washington, D.C.)
Chef/owner of ramen restaurant Daikaya opening in 2012, formerly of Minibar and Café Atlantico

Spike Gjerde (Baltimore, MD)
Chef/owner of Woodberry Kitchen

Nancy Oakes (San Francisco, CA)
Chef/owner of Boulevard, James Beard Foundation Award–winner for Best Chef California

David Posey (Chicago, IL)
Chef of 4-star restaurant Blackbird, formerly of Alinea


Bisnow
Come See the Political Stars!
 
We’re thrilled to be hosting two of Washington’s top political analysts this Thursday morning—less than 36 hours after the New Hampshire primary. Ann Compton has been ABC’s chief White House correspondent for years (she was the only broadcast journalist on board Air Force 1 with President Bush after 9/11) and Linda Douglass was President Obama’s spokesperson during his 2008 campaign, inauguration, and healthcare initiative after taking office, as well as chief congressional correspondent for CBS News before that. If you want to know what the experts think about the GOP race or how they match up with the President, this is the place to be in Washington this week. Jan. 12. Sign up now!

Bisnow
Love Cafe to Close
 
Warren Brown
Love Cafe is shuttering after eight years on U Street. The casual cafe and coffeehouse from CakeLove owner Warren Brown will have its last day on Jan. 29. The good news is that CakeLove across the street isn't going anywhere (neither are its five other locations in Virginia and Maryland). The cake and cupcake bakery, which kick-started the cupcake craze in DC, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

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What restaurants are you looking forward to in 2012? E-mail Dining Editor Jessica Sidmandining@bisnow.com. You can also catch us on Facebook and Twitter!

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