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Popular Edgewater Chef and NBC ‘Food Fighter’ Stephanie Goldfarb’s Supper Clubs Make It Big

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Photo: Stephanie Strauss 

Envision celebrating the day with old friends and new over a decadent seven-course meal thoughtfully prepared and beautifully plated by The Food Network’s “America’s Best Cook.” Sound too good to be true?

Well snap out of it. Because 2014’s America’s Best Cook, Stephanie Goldfarb, and sous chef, Lucie-Ann Chen, host a series of succulent Seven Species Supper Clubs just around the corner … literally.

A five-year Edgewater resident and charitable supporter, Goldfarb invites 14 members of the community and beyond to her Edgewater home for bi-monthly supper clubs packed with new faces and flavorful dishes.

Tickets for the gathering run anywhere between $65 to $85 per person, but all proceeds from the event benefit Goldfarb’s monthly charity of choice — meaning not one dime goes in Goldfarb’s pocket, but rather in the hands of a meaningful, charitable cause.

“I’m not in it for the money,” says Goldfarb. “I wear a lot of different hats and like to find ways to incorporate all my passions into one thing. Supper club is a way to do that. I like to support people who are doing great work through the food that I make.”

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Photo: Stephanie Strauss

Goldfarb started Seven Species Supper Club two years ago when she sat on the board of directors for the Chicago Women’s Health Center. Pining for a creative way to raise money, she leaned on her passion and talents for cooking, fired up the burners and sold tickets for dinner.

Since the launch (and since securing the valuable media attention that came with winning America’s Best Cook), her supper clubs have exploded, selling out within 24 hours and bringing in approximately $10,000 for the Chicago Women’s Health Center to date.

Over the last year, Goldfarb has expanded the charities her supper clubs support, raising money for a new cause every month that typically aids either the queer community, women or public health care.

“Every month I choose a different charity, and all of the proceeds go to that charity,” says Goldfarb. “I’ve donated to the Night Ministry’s ResponseAbility Pregnant and Parenting Program, Dyke March, and in the fall I will be doing one for TransTech, which is an organization that helps trans people learn different computer and technical skills.”

Much like the charities she supports, every supper club promises to be different. At each event, patrons can expect to find a totally new menu featuring an array of tasty vegetarian dishes assembled with local and seasonal ingredients.

“I like to not take food so seriously,” says Goldfarb. “The dishes I prepare are very comforting and always accessible, there are never really any ingredients on my menu you can’t pronounce or don’t understand. It’s very elegant and beautiful food.”

Experimenting with new spices and ingredients, Goldfarb likes to do her own thing, taking the best elements from different cuisines and incorporating them all into one vegetarian meal. Her diners always promise to introduce her diners, and maybe even a few meat lovers, to new tastes.

“I’m inspired by foods from around the world,” says Goldfarb. “I’ve found that vegetarian food is more interesting to cook and play around with because it lacks those natural flavors that come with protein. I’m also able to feed a larger group of people and cater to any dietary restrictions.”

As rich as the food always is at supper club, Goldfarb guarantees the new company to be even richer.

“(The supper clubs are) BYOB, so once participants have a lot to eat and drink, by the end everyone is exchanging phone numbers. I attract a young, likeminded crowd who want to dine out for a good cause,” says Goldfarb. “They want to feel really good about the calories they are ingesting. Really, it’s people coming together for a great cause, enjoying a meal with one another.”

While Goldfarb doesn’t currently fund any Edgewater organizations, she encourages local non-profits looking for a new means of funding to get in touch with her.

“I would love and welcome organizations and non-profits to approach me and talk to me about funding them,” says Goldfarb. “I’m interested in helping small non-profits, where the proceeds from my supper club can really make a difference.”

Goldfarb anticipates staying in the Edgewater community for the foreseeable future, loving the tree-lined streets and the community charm, as well as the proximity to great restaurants and the lake.

Although her sought-after cooking style and altruistic spirit can only be truly enjoyed at one of her supper club events, she has one unwavering mantra readers can take home with them: “A meal is not a meal unless there is freshly baked bread on the table.”

Amen.

Goldfarb will be featured on NBC’s Food Fighters program, with the season finale airing in September, and Kitchen Inferno on The Food Network. To learn more about her Seven Species Supper Club, visit her website and subscribe to her e-Newsletter for monthly menu updates.


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