Described as a “charity dinner for the environment,” SEATED—a communal supper series held at Pittsburgh restaurant The Vandal (in collaboration with small-batch ceramics maker Bombabird and local shop Oatmeal)—will aim to be as eco-friendly as possible, while championing the craftspeople involved. The meal will commence later this year in two sessions, with drinks and light bites preceding the first seating (as appetizers) and succeeding the second (as dessert). The main course, house-made Cioppino—”an Italian-American ode to the various seafood stews of Italy,” filled with crab, prawns, calamari, mussels and fish—will be served in handmade, shallow pasta bowls.
The talented makers behind ceramic labels East Fork, FD Pottery, Reiko Yamamoto Studio, Sandbox Ceramics, A Question of Eagles, and others are offering pieces for the events. Not only will guests eat from these bowls, but they will also get to take them home. 100% of the evening’s profits will then go to The Nature Conservancy, an environmental organization that works to protect the USA’s natural landscape.
“Ceramicists from across the country were asked to donate a ‘pasta bowl’ with uniform dimensions,” The Vandal’s Emily Slagel explains. “I think you really see the individuality in their work when they are essentially making the ‘same’ object. Obviously each ceramicist has a unique style, but you can really notice nuanced, personal differences, like their hands. What we love about ceramics is the very human element—in how they are produced and used.”
The evening strengthens The Vandal’s relationship with small businesses operating on the outskirts of the restaurant industry, and directs diners’ attention there, too—uniting their guests at the intersection of sustainability and quality. “The concept was initiated as a way for us, Oatmeal and Bombabird to pull our resources together and create an opportunity to take action for a timely cause that is critical to all of us: environmental protection,” Slagel says. “We’re always looking for more ways to push our sustainability efforts as individuals and as a small business. As restaurant owners, we have a space to bring people together and a platform to draw attention to causes we believe in.”
“We hope diners take away a sense of togetherness and community. We hope to not just raise a meaningful donation, but to spark real conversations as well. I talk a lot about the social act of dining out and sharing a meal. It’s one of the few human interactions that still exist in real time and I’m interested in how that is relevant to activism,” Slagel concludes.
While a date is yet to be confirmed, SEATED will take place later this year. Visit the SEATED event page for updates.
Images courtesy of The Vandal