A couple of days ago I welcomed the autumnal equinox at a dinner in a field just outside of Philadelphia. To my left sat Nina, the farmer who has grown most of my food for the past 10 years at the decades old Weavers Way Farms. On my right sat Paule, who became my friend through our work creating shows together in my former life as a costumer for his many dance works. The field at Elkins Estate is farmed by Christa, better known as Farmer Jawn and her vegetables graced the plates. The chef for the evening was Randy Rucker, of the restaurant River Twice, where he sets their tables with Kitchen Garden Textiles napkins. The evening was orchestrated by the incomparable team at Outstanding in the Field and the tables were draped with the linen tablecloths I created for them. Seated in such a sweet spot, surrounded by my past and my future was a remarkable way to welcome this season.
This beautiful evening spent with friends old and new, wasn’t without its tinge of sadness. I sat in the knowledge that my friend Chef Ari Miller had made the bitter sweet choice to close his restaurant Musi. I would not have been at this long table if it weren’t for my relationship with Ari. He was the first chef to use my napkins in his restaurant and we worked through all the kinks of a tiny, sustainable business like KGT offering this service. With Ari, I was able to achieve a fully circular use of my textiles in direct relationship to food; something so powerfully important and not yet replicated. Working with Ari has been a great source of inspiration, our collaboration has always lifted me up.
The following words, from his open letter on the decision to close, make me proud and so grateful to have had the opportunity to have been part of such a special place and time.
“Our linens were sewn from salvaged cloth and used to adorn our tables, ourselves as aprons, and our kitchen as the side towels held in every hand of every cook. When those same linen towels were no longer of use to hold a hot pan or clean our tiny kitchen at the end of each service, they were saved for wrapping the meats we would roast at our annual farm dinners. Every ingredient entered our space to be dissected and devoured in a cyclical pursuit of creativity, responsibility, and deliciousness.”
So, welcome Autumn, with your sweet nostalgic sunlight resting ever lower in the sky. I will continue to build on the gifts that my relationship with Ari and his restaurant Musi brought my way. Thank you chef Ari, looking forward to the next adventure.