Safe house meetings, subterfuge, clandestine operations.
No, this isn’t a spy thriller or conflict reportage. All of this intrigue is for something much less dangerous, but equally as exciting: dinner! But this dinner is special. It is a super secretive Rogue dinner!
I first met the Rogue Chefs through mutual friends at a house party, shortly after my wife and I moved to St. Louis in 2010. It seems we made a favorable impression, because shortly thereafter we received our invitation to join the Rogue Underground Dining Society. After attending several events, a year later we hosted a Rogue event at my studio. It was an amazing evening: strange and wonderful food, the allure of doing something a tiny bit outside of the law, and most of all an introduction to a wonderful community of folks who love good food, good drink, and good people. Not to mention the joy of watching talented chefs prepare a 12 course meal in the studio’s kitchen.
In early 2015, I shared a copy of The Insatiable Lens with Chef K. He immediately asked if I wanted to do an issue about Rogue. Of course I said yes. His only request was that we keep the identities of the Rogue Chefs secret. This proved to be a challenging endeavor; after all, how do you photograph people that do not want to be identified and an event that isn’t supposed to be happening? It was definitely a challenge, but a really fun project.
The result, after months of busy schedules, delays, and complications, is the Rogue issue of The Insatiable Lens. The chefs generously invited me to cover one of their events (page 11), and for the first time in public, they share the rules they have set for the Society (page 6), and of course a few recipes (page 26). What they are not sharing? Their identities or contact information. If you want to join the Rogue Underground Dining Society, well, you’re going to have to do a little research on your own. In the words of Chef K., “A little digging will help us know if they are sincere.”
Remember, if you do manage to score an invitation … the first rule of the Rogue Underground Dining Society is … you do not talk about the Rogue Underground Dining Society!
Photographer and Editor in Chief