The Table as Canvas: Designing a Bizarro Dinner Party With Jen Monroe - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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The Table as Canvas: Designing a Bizarro Dinner Party With Jen Monroe

$75 per person Online Experience
4 sessions
See Dates
$75 per person
$75 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this four-part lecture series, learn skills and strategies for throwing an out-of-the-ordinary dinner party.

Course Description

Among the best dinner hosts are those who can marry the technical skills of being a chef with an artist’s fluidity and flair for adventure. In this four-part course, artist and chef Jen Monroe will guide you through designing a beautiful, bizarre feast fit for a festive gathering, intimate dinner, or whatever eating experience you may be dreaming up. We’ll start with the basics, gathering visual and textural inspiration from less conventional, sometimes fictional sources such as books and movies. Then we’ll discuss the art of art-directing your own dinner, walking through visual elements, ingredient inspiration, and recipe development, with plenty of opportunity for feedback along the way. By the end of the course, you’ll have the blueprints and logistical tools to bring to life your very own whimsical, wondrous dinner.  

This course will focus on the research, design, and production process rather than the specifics of preparing any one dish. No culinary experience is required; we can work with whatever you bring to the table, whether you wish to design a tasting menu for a flight of instant ramen dishes or a ten-course meal in which dishes are continuously piled atop existing plates! You’ll be encouraged to lean into your impulses, make them stranger, and most of all, make them your own.

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Syllabus at a Glance

There are four total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning October 26.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 10/26, 6–7:30 PM ET): Finding Inspiration: Creative planning and brainstorming

Session 2 (Tuesday,11/2, 6–7:30 PM ET): Research & Development: Testing, sourcing, firming up your menu

Session 3 (Tuesday, 11/9, 6–7:30 PM ET): Production & Execution: Bells and whistles

Session 4 (Tuesday, 11/16, 6–7:30 PM ET): Show & Tell

Between Sessions

Students’ individual workloads outside of class will be wholly dependent on their goals for this course, though Jen will provide suggested reading and watching lists and encourage participants to work on planning their meals each week. This might include ingredient shopping, developing and testing recipes, and planning out logistics. 

Course Materials 

There are no required materials for this course. We’ll spend a lot of time in class discussing sourcing and budgeting, but whether students want to plan a date night for two, take on a 20-person dinner party, or squirrel this information away for an event next year is up to them.  

Pricing Options

We currently offer tiered ticket pricing in an effort to increase accessibility for all students, regardless of economic situation. Our lecture series are available at three ticket prices, with a limited number of no-pay spots available for students who could not otherwise participate. This model is intended to support a wider range of students as well as our instructors. To learn more about our tiered sliding scale pricing model, please visit our FAQ page.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 25 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed via a recording that will be shared within 72 hours after each session airs. Class recordings for lecture series will be available with a temporary password for a limited time following the final session of the course.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit

For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to the class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access your course via Zoom on each scheduled date and time.

About Your Instructor
Jen Monroe
Jen Monroe

Jen Monroe is a chef and artist whose project, Bad Taste, is committed to exploring new ways of thinking about food and consumption, approaching food as fantasy and as a transportive medium. Past work has included a dinner about the honey bee health crisis, a 100-square-foot edible map of New York City, food installations for fashion week presentations, experimental cotton candy, concept pop-up dinners, a rendering of a futuristic menu in response to climate change, and a series of immersive, monochromatic ten-course "color meals." Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and Dazed. You can follow her on Instagram (

Photo credit: Georgia Hilmer

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording after each session airs. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session airs, we will email all enrolled students a recording of the session, which they can watch using a temporary password for up to ten weeks after the course concludes.

In most cases, instructors will use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Classroom, instructors will be using this platform to post resources, discussion questions, and assignments, when applicable.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

Dates and Availability
  • Tue, Oct 26, 2021
    6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
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