On a very rainy Saturday evening we went along to check out Stoke on Trent’s very latest hidden gastronomic experience. This is not your run of the mill type of establishment. This is an exclusive secret place where only 10 people can dine at the same time. The only difficulty that we encountered was finding the venue. Feasted is located at the old Spode factory, which is part of the regeneration programme implemented by Stoke city council to regenerate and repurpose the old Spode Factory. Now home to several businesses and social enterprises.
After a frantic call to Cris Cohen and an extremely patient taxi driver driving letting us shelter from the rain, we were taken to the space in studio 32.
The layout of then space is extremely unique. One large high table when the 5 couples were sat opposite each other and sitting on tall stools, was immediately adjacent to the cooking area. Unusually this meant we could watch the chefs preparing the food. Also, there is just the one menu which detailed all 9 course and detailed the wine parings as well.
The story of Feasted began in 2017 from one humble social media post asking if anyone wanted soup and bread, 4 people said yes, Just 4 people. This social media post was all it needed to get things started. Cris Cohen, Feasted founder, was out of work following an unexpected illness and wanted to get something started. Feasted was his vehicle to getting well and realising an ambition. He remembers how he felt, the nerves, the uncertainty and expectation of pressing ‘post’ on his Facebook account that day. It sounds crazy, we know, but in that moment, there was no turning back.
“It was a moment of commitment from me, it felt scary. I want people to know this, if you’re ambitious, but have very little affirmation or success, it’s never too late. I was 42 when I pressed ‘post’ that day.”
Cris and the team at Feasted are driven to provide people with the opportunity to believe both in themselves, and what can be achieved collectively.
Feasted journey has taken many twists and turns from October 2017/ From the delicious soup and bread to bespoke dinner parties, high engagement work with schools, innovative consultancy, and the incredible recent success of Chefs Table. Feasted has always had ambition at the core of every event and activity it has provided.
they rode out the pandemic…
Through this time they continued through creating cooking videos online and embracing a ‘sweet spot’ moment as people looked for content that would provide activities for the family. Cris developed his consultancy role with a local college to drive ambition in the industry. Something that is the beating heart of the organisation. He has subsequently spent time with educational organisations, planning and defining what should be within the curriculum. It’s a huge desire for him to see education evolve and realise the ‘event horizon’ opportunity that is coming, encapsulating food in its widest sense. So much of his consultancy work has and continues to evolve around this.
THE SECRET UNLOCKED
After all the guests had arrived and taken their seats and offered a drink, Cris introduced us to the team and the concept behind the Chefs Table, he explained after the pandemic he had. noticed that lockdown had stopped people from interacting with anyone from outside family he pointed out that the more exclusive a restaurant becomes the more the likely it is to spread the tables further apart. The concept here is that you arrive at the start of the night as strangers and then at the end you have become friend’s.
The theme for the evening was Heroes of the area. Jake the Head chef for the evening spoke to us before each courses to explained the significance for each dish, Cris then spoke about each wine and where it was from and why it had been paired with the dish . For example the first course began with a reading by Stoke’s Nick Degg’s ‘I come from a town “ poem.
Jake explained why how this poem had inspired him to create a dish that involved bread , smoked duck butter and cucumber. The bread was tiny bread tin shaped slices, and just as the poem different parts of the dish reflected the tone of the poem which was old transforming to new, breadcrumbs that were blackened , freshness of the bread , and a picked cucumber paired with the fresh slice represent the freshness of transformation of the area.
There were 9 courses in total and the theme continued throughout. It is much more about the whole tasting experience and being in the immersed in it. Every course was announced as was every wine paring. The menu was extremely unique, pairing flavours, ingredient combinations that were far from what you would get in any other restaurant, for example the second course dedicated to Captain Smith of the Titanic named Iceberg, was Fennel, Pale Ale, Anchovy and Oat. The dish itself was amazing and but unlike anything else I have every tasted. As the courses kept on coming and celebrating more Heroes of the area such as Alice Charity, Lemmy and Nello it really was remarkable that a fairly new enterprise such as Feasted were able to produce such innovative food that would be able to grace the tables of high end restaurants across the globe.
The great thought behind each course and its consistent delivery throughout is an opportunity that no self-respecting foodie should miss. The other element that sets Feasted apart is the passion from each member of the team. I wasn’t sure as a diner that the unusual approach to serving the courses and all at one table with strangers was going to be comfortable. The high stool arrangement could be an issue for a diner with disabilities but on the whole, it is a triumph. Its uniqueness is what makes it special. As a concept. It really does work and it does in practice. The studio space at Spode is also very different to any other venue
The seasonally changing menu explores the stories of Stoke-on-Trent and celebrates the culture and heritage of the six towns that come together to make a city.
Sharing these stories connects us and helps us forge the future of our humble city, to be a city of greatness where extraordinary food is placed on the very plates that first put our city on the map.
Let us take them on a journey in an honest yet most exciting form
To upgrade your experience with our sommelier drink and wine pairing, add the wine-tasting experience to your booking
One table, ten seats, nine courses
take a seat at the chef’s table
THE FUTURE IS COMPLETELY DELICIOUS…
With more openings to come in the area, Feasted have ambitions to help hospitality evolve.