If you’re like us, you’ve devoured your fair share of Chef’s Table episodes on Netflix, then immediately got really, frustratingly hungry for whatever delicious food item they pornographically depicted on-screen. Unfortunately, said food item was likely out of reach, exclusively available from a specific chef in some far-flung destination.
“Dangit,” you probably thought to yourself, before sating your appetite with, we don’t know, noodles. “I’ll never get to try any of that cool stuff.”
But that’s where you were wrong—woefully, wonderfully wrong. Thanks to Black Tomato, the inventive travel company responsible for deliberately getting you lost, you can now experience the kinds of worldly culinary things you’ve only ever seen on TV, via Tasting Notes, a new portfolio of itineraries, plotted with the personal counsel of world-renowned chefs, that is more or less like the vacation version of Chef’s Table. It just launched today.
To be perfectly clear: this isn’t the kind of trip where the people planning it cobbled together a series of things any old person could do and packaged it as something new. The specialists at Black Tomato put in some serious work here, extensively researching the experiences with their chef-partners on the ground. As a result, you can partake in an Andean earth ceremony with the guidance of a local shaman, visit a Spanish txoco, a secret food-focused social club that attracts some of the best local chefs, and eat dinner at the home of the daughter of Janez Bratovž, who’s widely regarded as the father of modern Slovenian fine dining. We imagine the food she serves you will be extremely not bad.
Currently, Black Tomato is offering five different itineraries, in five different locales, in direct collaboration with five different chefs—though they’ll add more in the future. And while they're flexible with regards to the duration of each trip, they will ideally last roughly one to two weeks.
Perhaps the most buzzworthy voyage takes you into the mind of Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, the Chef’s Table alum whose restaurant, Central, is currently ranked fifth in the world. Over ten days or so in Cusco, Lima and the Amazon, travelers will have the opportunity to check out Martínez’s local suppliers, journey to the closed-to-the-public Andean Distillery (Virgilio's favorite) and eat at both Central and Mil, Martínez’s brand new restaurant, which is located near an Incan ruin over 11,000 feet above sea level.
Another trip, created with Michelin-starred chef Dani López, will send you to San Sebastián for a little over a week, where you’ll take a tour of the city’s pintxo bars, check out the aforementioned txoco, enjoy a private cooking lesson from López and spend a day sampling the wares from Rioja’s finest wineries.
A third, taking place across Slovenia and Croatia with personal recommendations from chef Janez Bratovž, will involve truffle hunting on the peninsula of Istria, private wine tastings, an alpine lunch atop Mount Vogel and an exclusive ice cream tasting in an East Slovenian pumpkin oil mill, which we’re told is an absolute must (and, contrary to what you may think, not part of a Stefon bit). The two others: a culinary tour of South Australia with the matriarch of Australian cuisine, Maggie Beer; and an Argentine adventure designed with local celebrity chef Fernando Trocca, which features a meeting with a renowned oenologist in Mendoza and a speakeasy expedition in Buenos Aires. Also: steak. Lots and lots of steak.
You can book one of these trips now through Black Tomato. Or you can go back to watching Chef’s Table on Netflix. Both are solid options. But one is immeasurably better.