Written by Marjorie Naylor Pitts | Photography by Julia Cumes

Along the shore near Chatham Fish Pier, guests connect with one another through locally sourced meals prepared by Outstanding in the Field and Chatham Bars Inn.

Outstanding in the Field, the California-based company that pioneered the farm-to-table movement, creates a highly anticipated—and quick-to-sellout—outdoor dining experience in late summer at Chatham Bars Inn. Guests, farmers and purveyors gather for a communal feast at an impressive 220-seat table along the shore adjacent to the Chatham Fish Pier. “We procure and prepare all of the food, featuring locally sourced ingredients, including produce from Chatham Bars Inn Farm, while the Outstanding in the Field crew provides the rest—it’s really fun for us,” says CBI executive chef Anthony Cole, adding that the inn started working with Outstanding in the Field in 2017.

Last year’s event began with a beachside lawn reception featuring Chatham Shellfish Company oysters paired with a rosé from Flowers Vineyards & Winery and a selection of craft beer from Devil’s Purse Brewing Co., followed by a brief talk by Jim Denevan, founder and CEO of Outstanding in the Field. Denevan then introduced the featured purveyors, before inviting guests to stroll along the beach to the table.

Once seated, guests sipped chardonnay while enjoying a gorgeously presented tomato tasting with heirloom tomatoes, Chatham sea salt, Genovese basil, kefir cheese and farm botanicals, served with pickled green tomatoes and cucamelon, as well as slow-roasted tomato-onion jam, house-made duck focaccia and sundried tomato flatbread. Next came a platter of fire-roasted peppers and grilled eggplant, burrata, Grenada pepper purée, with a chickpea garlic crumble. Guests, many strangers to one another just hours before, engaged in lively, comfortable banter as the exquisite CBI farm fare was passed and shared family style. “For me, that’s the really powerful, meaningful aspect of what we do,” explains Denevan. “There’s an incredible synergy of meeting new people, connecting to one another through local foods and the beauty of being in this stunning setting.”

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On the menu: Heirloom tomatoes with pickled green tomatoes and cucamelons; char-grilled ribeye steak with warm potato salad, petit greens and a mint and anise hyssop chimichurri; and a farm berry and ricotta custard tart with vanilla-fennel anglaise. Below: executive chef Anthony Cole and chef Stephanie Barrett cook cioppino with mussels, clams, lobster, monkfish and squid.

Two main courses with wine pairings were presented next: A perfectly seasoned cioppino with Chatham Shellfish Company mussels, clams, lobster, monkfish and squid, followed by char-grilled Vermont ribeye steak, warm potato salad and petit greens. As the sun set, a farm berry and ricotta custard tart with vanilla-fennel anglaise and botanicals completed the magical evening. Standing beside the gently lapping water of Aunt Lydia’s Cove amid the glow of a luminaire-lined path guiding sated guests back to Chatham Bars Inn, Denevan took in the scene with a contented sigh: “It’s so good to be here.” This summer’s Outstanding in the Field dinner at Chatham Bars Inn is scheduled for Aug. 29, 2019: Outstanding, indeed!

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Chatham Bars Inn Summer Guest Chef Series kick off is Wednesday, June 26 with chef Mike Price from The Clam in New York. We are excited to try his menu drawing on fresh local seafood and produce from our farm while enjoying the breathtaking Chatham Harbor views.

Have you reserved your seats yet? Please call 508-945-6871 for more details.