Business

Fine dining for one night only

Katherine Macdonald is learning the finer points of running her own fine dining restaurant by putting on a series of pop-up dinner events in the rental restaurant at the Arundel Mansions. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Katherine Macdonald is learning the finer points of running her own fine dining restaurant by putting on a series of pop-up dinner events in the rental restaurant at the Arundel Mansions.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

Restaurants come and go. Katherine Macdonald has designed hers that way.

Macdonald is a caterer who, after 20 years working in the kitchens of restaurants around Metro Vancouver, decided to strike out independently. Her dream is to run a restaurant of her own.

To help make that happen, learn a little more about things like menu design, organization, customer service and the direction she wants to take her cooking, she’s operating a series of special pop-up restaurants in the rental restaurant at the historic Arundel Mansions on Begbie Street.

Her second one is Monday and three more are scheduled for July 19, Aug. 9 and 30.

“It’s like testing the water,” says Macdonald who calls her venture Nourish - Underground Dining. “But you don’t have to lose your shirt.”

Each restaurant event offers a set three-course menu to two sittings of 30 diners. Cost of the meal is $35 before beverages.

Macdonald and an assistant (or two) do all the cooking in the commercial kitchen at the back, her husband is the mâitre-d’ and ensures everything in the front runs smoothly and three experienced servers tend to the tables.

She also brings in a dishwasher to help with clean up.

Getting a restaurant up and running for only one night every two or three weeks presents some unique challenges, says Macdonald. Like knowing exactly how much food to purchase, and remembering to bring everything, including her treasured cast-iron cookware, with her to her temporary kitchen.

Macdonald begins planning the menu for her next pop-up immediately after finishing the previous one, applying the feedback from her customers and the lessons she learned. Diners are offered two choices for each course, which they have to make when signing up to attend. But there’s also some surprises thrown in along the way.

It’s all about having fun, says Macdonald.

“My goal is to bring joy and happiness to people.”

And fill their bellies with nourishing soul food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Toiling in the Arundel’s open kitchen also gives her a direct line to the future success of her restaurant. If she sees lots of smiling faces and hears laughter, she knows she’s on the right track.

“If the food was bad, they wouldn’t be having a good time,” says Macdonald.

To find out more about Macdonald’s pop-up restaurant, see the menu for the next one and book a table, go to http://on.fb.me/19qvWow or email her at katherinesfoods@gmail.com.

 

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