Pret A Diner, the globetrotting fine dining series with the Hollywood A-list celeb following is back in Berlin, the city where it all started, with its latest six-week instalment entitled ‘Behind the Scenes’. This time round, they have chosen the Opernwerkstätten, a former theatre and opera prop factory near Nordbahnhof, as their temporary home.
Until the February 28th, this draughty old building will house Michelin-starred chefs, expert mixologists and an inspired selection of contemporary art and culture. If their event last February is anything to go by (rumour has it Johnny Depp even paid them a visit!), there is no doubt that this will be one of the nighttime hotspots during the Berlinale.
For a pop-up event, the “Ephemeral” subject which unites the various artworks is rather apt. The exhibition, once again curated by the Circle Culture gallery, features an impressive line-up including Jonathan Yeo, whose unauthorised portrait of George W Bush created from cuttings of pornographic magazines, brought him worldwide notoriety and whose nudes of a heavily pregnant Sienna Millar are currently on display at the Circle Culture Gallery. At Pret A Diner you can admire his portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger, entitled Onan the Barbarian;
Berlin-based street artist XOOOOX, whose work I first encountered during a visit to Mongrels in Common’s shop and studio; Kevin Earl Taylor whose paintings of surreal animal pairings (such as a monkey lovingly feeding a zebra) I haven’t been able to get out of my head since I saw his solo exhibition at the Circle Culture Gallery back in autumn 2011;
artist and graphic designer Shepard Fairey who burst onto the public consciousness with his Obama HOPE campaign; and conceptual artist Olivia Steele who is on a mission to reclaim neon lighting from the domaine of advertising.
The menu, too, has this wonderfully fleeting quality: over the six weeks, two of Germany’s top chefs (Michael Kempf of Berlin’s Facil restaurant and Matthias Schmidt of Villa Merton in Frankfurt) and one world-class Brazilian culinary duo (Helena Rizzo and Daniel Redondo) will take it in turns to cook up a storm in the kitchen. All served with live music, carefully selected wines and tasty cocktail creations. I highly recommend “pimping your infamy” and splashing out on a 20oz US filet steak fit for a king, the only constant on the menu, served smooth as butter with edamame beans, sweet potato, and radish Asian jus.
Since the very first Pret A Diner, entitled “In the Melting Pot”, was held in Berlin’s former royal mint back in 2011, the team have ventured beyond Berlin to new cities and off-beat venues: from the tops of their makeshift “treehouse” in Frankfurt to the depths of the Old Vic Tunnels in London. This is their fourth visit to Berlin and, though on the face of it everything has changed – the venue, the chefs, the artists – their ability to surprise and delight has not. On February 28th it will once again be time for them to pack up and set off for distant shores – Rio, Venice, Hamburg, Basel, Ibiza, London, Sao Paolo and Florida are all on the itinerary for 2013 – so book now, before it’s too late.
To celebrate its first anniversary, the Berlin Film Society is teaming up with Pret A Diner for a special screening of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s brilliantly harrowing drama Veronika Voss. The film, which took home the Golden Bear award at the 1982 Berlinale, deals with the strange relationship between a morphine-addicted actress and her doctor. After the screening guests can attend a three course meal hosted by Pret A Diner, at a special reduced price. For more information visit their Facebook event here. We’re giving away a couple of tickets to the screening on February 13th (meal not included). To win, just leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. Good luck!