Shannon Martinez started her Friends of Daughters dinner series – inviting chef friends to collaborate on a plant-based dinner at her Smith & Daughters flagship in Collingwood – in an effort to bring together two significant groups of people in her life: friends and patrons.
As Martinez, who rocketed plant-based dining to the fore of Melbourne’s food scene with the original Smith & Daughters a decade ago, tells Broadsheet, “I want to encourage [chefs] to put more vegan food on their menus and to expand my customers’ dining options … The whole reason for Smith & Daughters being born in the first place was that there weren’t beautiful vegan restaurants back then – 10 years ago – for people to eat and have that traditional, stunning restaurant service.”
For the second Friends of Daughters dinner, Martinez has recruited one of Melbourne’s most exciting chef talents, Jung Eun Chae of six-seat Korean restaurant Chae in Cockatoo. (A seat at Chae is one of the hardest reservations to snag in the country.)
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The one-night-only dinner takes place on Tuesday October 17. The duo will be using Smith & Daughters-made vegan substitutes to create plant-based versions of Chae dishes, incorporating the homemade ferments that Chae is famous for into Smith & Daughters staples. Soju cocktails will also make an appearance.
There will be three sittings, with tickets going for $150 per person. For a prime view of Chae and Martinez in the kitchen, 10 chef’s table tickets will be available at each sitting for $170 per person. Tickets go on sale via the Smith & Daughters website today at 5pm.
The Friends of Daughters collab series kicked off at the end of August with a one-off event featuring Attica’s Ben Shewry. Alongside the Smith & Daughters team, Shewry created a vegan version of his restaurant’s lamb brick – often referred to as “the dish that saved Attica” with its runaway popularity during the fine diner’s quieter early days. Tickets to the event sold out in seven minutes.
One of the perks, Martinez says, is the impact guest chefs have on the Smith & Daughters’ kitchen team, who “ get to meet people they’ve looked up to or are influenced by themselves”. After working with Shewry, she says, “the staff were fucking amped”.
Tickets for Friends of Daughters with Chae go on sale at 5pm today, Friday October 6, via the Smith and Daughters website.