When chef Danny Bowien decided to throw a series of dream dinner parties, he had one main goal in mind: to bring together his friends from outside of the culinary world around the dinner table.
Partnering with reservation company Resy, the culinary mastermind behind Mission Chinese Food launched Resy Presents: Secret Special with Danny Bowien & Friends and brought that idea to life.
Over the course of six dinner parties, which began Sept. 9, Bowien guides his pals from the worlds of music, art, fashion (such as designers Sandy Liang and Eckhaus Latta) and culture to devise their own special dishes — which are then featured on the Mission Chinese menu for the remainder of the month.
“I've been wanting to do a dinner series with Resy for a long time,” Bowien tells Billboard. “Chefs often collaborate with other chefs on diners like this — which is cool, and I enjoy doing it — but I wanted to do something with my friends who aren't chefs. These are the people that I cook for, share meals with, and talk about food with the most, and there are a lot of similarities between our fields of food, art, fashion, music. Making their take on Mission Chinese dishes and then sharing that with people is really cool.”
Among the chef’s music-minded special guests are pop punk outfit Saves the Day (who are in the midst of commemorating the 20th anniversary of their seminal album Through Being Cool) and avant-garde multi-hyphenate Ssion (Cody Critcheloe) — two acts the tastemaker maintains personal bonds with through years of friendship. “Saves the Day is one of my all-time favorite bands,” Bowien says. “Doing the dinner around the 20-year anniversary of Through Being Cool is very special to me."
Conley and Bowien are also in a band called Narx! with Geoff Rickly of the rock band Thursday, "so we've spent a lot of time together sharing food and writing music," Bowien says. "The way they approach music and the energy of their live shows intersects with how I approach food, so to bring the two together for a dinner party made sense."
“Cody (Ssion) and I met a couple years ago through mutual friends,” Bowien continues, “and we really bonded over food, specifically Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits. It was right when O came out, so I got to experience the excitement and energy around that highly-anticipated album."
For his part, Saves the Day frontman Chris Conley tells Billboard he can’t wait to see what another dinner party with Bowien will bring to the proverbial, and literal, table.
“Saves the Day has spent so many surreal nights with Danny and his staff after shows at after-parties in the city, celebrating being alive and being friends. So when he asked us to be a part of the Mission Chinese Food dinners, we said yes in a heartbeat and jumped at the chance to enjoy another special night together with our friends at MCF,” he says. “No doubt the evening will be alive with neon green lights, flooded by ruby red Negroni, and peppered with mind-bending and tongue-tingling dishes as surreal and as special as ever, and as always it will be a night to remember for years to come. We look forward to experiencing the unexpected menu with friends and fans and family.”
Bowien’s dinner party with Saves the Day will take place Nov. 5, while Ssion will make an appearance on Feb. 11 alongside Telfar and Precious Okoyomon. Tickets for both meals can be purchased through Resy. The Secret Special dinners are held monthly through March 2020, with a break in December.