Din Din – A Supper Club

Food & Drink
One summer evening a group of 75 people convene inside Versailles Gardens and Pomarius Nursery in industrial Northwest for a six-course meal crafted by chef Courtney Sproule. Through the grill’s billow of smoke and lit by the setting sun, Courtney orchestrates her cooks and servers to execute a French inspired menu, and the dishes are whisked away to awaiting diners.

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I first learned about your supper club a year ago, and tonight’s supper was packed and busy. How have things changed in the last year? Is its current state what you imagined when you started?

Din Din grew out of parties I used to host for friends.  I learned the beauty of dining later in life and started throwing food-centric parties frequently as a way to teach myself to cook and host.  At one point, I decided to challenge myself (and to heed my budget!) by offering dinners to the public in public settings.  I did this monthly for a year as a side project, and then took on Din Din as a full time gig.  It totally took me by surprise that cooking, something I never gave a thought to until I was about 20 years old, would come to be my main pursuit.  I’ve been incredibly lucky to have such loyal, open guests and such a talented, generous staff bring us to this point!

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What’s next? Are you trying to increase the size of the suppers, or hold the clubs in more sensational locales?

We always try to be better and better cooks and more welcoming and creative hosts.  Right now we’re working on ways to host our public suppers more often.  We’ll announce an early fall lineup soon!

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How did you create your recipe for tonight? Did you use any particularly unusual purveyors?

I was totally endeared to this menu as I wrote it while staying in a friend’s medieval guest home in château country in France.  It demanded an elegant protein, so I knew to get Reister lamb from Jake Reister in Washougal.  He finishes his lamb with peas, so it has a subtle, sweet deliciousness and is so incredibly tender that we joke when fabricating it about the risk of it sliding right off the bone (still raw!).

Uncommon to us, but very traditional to the region I was staying in in France, is a trick taught to me by Robert Reynolds of the Chef Studio where you dump fresh strawberries into your leftover red wine for dessert (in this region, it’s Chinon).  We has a stellar Chinon that happened to marry perfectly with raspberries, which was the only berry to be had that week from Polar Farms, which my friend Kristen Murray (an incredible pastry chef Portland is so lucky to have) introduced me to.  That worked wonderfully!

One fun thing that happened was that I forgot my cooking brandy.  This cooking brandy is Germain Robin, which is nothing to dismiss, as you’d be lucky to finish any meal with it.  But in its absence I livened up the tomatoes on the zucchini cake by borrowing from the aperitif we offered our guests upon arrival– this fun modern French liqueur called M.P. Roux, which lended a welcome complexity to this season’s tomatoes.  It was a good mistake!

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See also:

Planetary Sculpture – A Supper Club

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