Here’s How Two Lifelong Friends Are Offering the San Diego Community a Taste of Togetherness
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger
Photography Provided By: Emily Carmichall and Stephen Kurpinsky The Blank Table SD
We are ruled by the digital world: Zoom calls, Instagram filters, Snapchat streaks, Trump’s tweets—you name it. We are a generation of tech-necks. And while screen time can be useful and temporarily entertaining, it often interferes with our will to connect.
Enter: The Blank Table.
Founded by two middle school besties on a mission to foster unlikely connections between strangers, The Blank Table is transforming San Diego culture by igniting a sense of togetherness through cuisine, cocktails and creativity. Here are five reasons you need to know about this bi-monthly dining series.
1 | The Trio The Blank Table SD
The team behind The Blank Table is composed of a chef, an event planner and a publicist, making each dinner vastly different due to each person’s creative input. “It’s a full sensory experience,” says Alex Ott, co-founder of The Blank Table. “It’s not just about the food; there is always music and a theme.” While Ott plays hostess, Chef Fred Keller works behind the scenes, pairing flavors and perfecting the presentation. Event Designer Katie Sprenkle brings her years of experience and passion for creating custom decor to curate an ambiance that’ll simply take your breath away.
2 | Expect the Unexpected The Blank Table SD
Being a pop-up dinner series, the team has experimented with a variety of locations. From a secluded garden space called Yard and Sea to a private dock in Harbor Island with a Spanish guitarist playing Afro-Cuban jazz off a yacht, each location serves as a unique place to gather. “I love the element of surprise,” says Ott. “At Yard and Sea, we had guests enter through an alley. People were like, ‘Where am I?’ Then they walked into this beautiful, decked-out space.”
Native Knowledge: Once the event date arrives, guests receive a text message with a map link to the destination.
3 | Chef Knows Best The Blank Table SD
Chef Keller has traveled the world, working at prestigious restaurants like Harbourside Seafood in Auckland, New Zealand, Martini House in Napa Valley and Roka Akor in Chicago. Since their days in middle school, Ott admits that both her and Keller have developed a taste for “high-end culinary pleasure.” “I am happy to skimp on other things in life, but when it comes to food, we don’t [mess] around,” says Ott. “Each dish tastes like something you have never had before.”
4 | Strangers to Friends
When was the last time you sat down with a stranger and really connected? The Blank Table is open seating, offering guests a chance to step out of their comfort zone and sit next to someone that is making San Diego tick! “I love curating people and watching them come out of their shell at our events,” says Ott. “I think my greatest gift is giving them a space to be free.” Still feeling unsure? Don’t worry. Each event features an expert mixologist, Sean O’Connell, that pairs each course with a unique cocktail to sip on throughout the night.”
5 | Local Roots
Community and connection lie at the heart of The Blank Table. So when it comes to the cuisine, Ott and Keller partner with businesses like Specialty Produce in an effort to reinvest in both the local community and the culinary craftsmen that make San Diego what it is today. Almost all ingredients are sourced locally and drink pairings are hand-crafted by a top mixologist.
While most of The Blank Table’s events are on hold due to social distancing orders, Ott and her team hope to resume pop-up gatherings in August. For more information and inspiration or to purchase tickets to future events, visit their website!