I can’t figure out if this is absolutely brilliant or the folks at Purina have lost their collective minds. The popular cat food producer Fancy Feast is opening a pop-up restaurant in New York City for humans. It’s only open for two nights, August 11 & 12, and the concept is to, “mirror the sensory experience of cats at mealtime.” They have a Michelin star chef helping get us there, folks. Purina hopes that we, the cat owner, will know our feline friends’ experiences as they dine. The upside to all this is the food sounds flipping delicious.
Fancy Feast is expanding into human cuisine, with plans to open a pop-up Italian restaurant in New York City with upscale dishes inspired by its canned dinners of fish, chicken and beef.
The Purina cat food brand’s eatery will launch this month in downtown Manhattan, where it will serve feline-inspired Italian dishes to humans that “mirror the sensory experience of cats at mealtime,” the company said in a press release.
The pop-up restaurant — branded “Gatto Bianco,” Italian for “white cat” — is poised to serve dishes like Salmon con Pomodorini (salmon with cherry tomatoes), Brasato di Manzo (beef short ribs in red wine) and Lemon Panna Cotta for dessert, according to a menu on Purina’s site.
The menu was developed by Fancy Feast’s in-house chef, Amanda Hassner, along with Michelin Star winning Italian chef and acclaimed New York restaurateur Cesare Casella. The pop-up will take dinner reservations for just two evenings on Aug. 11 and 12. Reservations open up on Aug. 4 at noon via OpenTable.
“The 16 lucky cat lovers will enjoy a complimentary tasting menu that will transport them to Italy for the evening, as Chef Casella shares his Italian heritage and passion for cooking with a menu of authentic, Tuscan dishes,” according to the release. While the trattoria’s specific location wasn’t revealed, it will be located on a trendy, upscale block “between the Far West Village and the Meatpacking District,” according to Nestle-owned Purina.
The idea is to promote the brand’s new line of canned food, “Fancy Feast Medleys.”
Honest question, does a person chef view a cat food chef the same? I know there is a whole hierarchy of snobbery in the medical field. I have to believe the same holds true in other fields. So when Amanda Hassner and Cesare Casella sat down together, who thought they were taking point on the menu? That’s a discussion I would have loved to have been privy to. As for the concept, I mean, why not? It’s a pop-up and pop-ups need gimmicks. Eat Like a Cat seems as good as any. Of course, any real cat owner would expect to be chasing something down and carrying it to their table to be praised for their efforts before tearing into it. And in my cat’s case, she likes to yell at one of her dog siblings before she goes to her food area, do we get to hiss at our fellow diners when they get up to go to the bathroom? What about knocking over our water glasses because our waiters haven’t paid attention to us in the last five minutes – is that okay? Are we allowed to shout for our food until it comes, sniff it and simply walk away without touching it? And I can only assume we get to sit on the hostesses lap for dessert.
As I said, though, the food sounds delicious. Fortunately for us non-New Yorkers, Purina is posting their recipes online. It’s slightly disconcerting because they plate everything like they do their food for the cats in the commercials, so it takes a few seconds to figure out who the recipe is for. I was trying to determine if these particular dishes could be served for both human and felines alike. Alas, no. So if you want to actually dine with Whiskers, you’ll need to buy one of the new Fancy Feast Medleys and plate it up to serve alongside your Brasato di Manzo with Spinaci e Polenta. Whiskers won’t see it that way. They’ll still help themselves to your plate. Kind of makes you wonder what happens if you show up to the Gatto Bianco with your cat for their dining experience? What if you claim Whiskers is the food critic doing the review for the Times?
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