I had 5 minutes with Steuart Martens recently to discuss the upcoming BITE OF DC on May 18th. The conversation went by in a flash and true to form, Steuart's phone was beeping and buzzing the entire time. There's never a dull moment (or an off moment for that matter) with Steuart. As a native Washingtonian, Martens is known to many as being a competitor on "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump, but to limit the 30-year old to merely being a reality television star is like calling an Oreo a chocolate cookie--it's barely scratching the surface. In the five minutes and three questions I had with Steuart, here's a glimpse of what I mean...
Q: I'm hearing a lot about BITE OF DC next weekend. What makes this event unique?
A: BITE is a one-day culinary event, featuring five elite DC chefs/restaurants, preparing five unique dishes, each of which will be paired with a beer/wine recommendation. The inaugural event is being held along the DC waterfront at Yards Park, and will also feature limitless wine and beer, along with live demonstrations and entertainment. We're doing two sessions (3p-6p and 7p-10p) and between the A-list culinary brands, the beautiful venue, and the reasonable ticket price, I think BITE is unique across the board.
Q: Speaking of ticket price, I see that tickets are only $49 and that seems like such a low price-point for this particular alignment of chefs/restaurants. Was that a strategy from the outset/
A: I don't know that it was a strategy, but to some degree, I think it is probably a part of our core beliefs as a company. I've always said dining should be aspirational, yet attainable. Sure, everyone stares at those classic, black and white, Ralph Lauren ads with the tuxedo, the evening gown, and the vintage Rolls Royce. It's aspirational, but when you get down to it, it's neither relatable nor attainable. To some degree, fine dining is the same; the difference being, I want people to see our 'ad' and get excited, buy tickets, attend, and then tell their friends about it afterwards. For me, it's about bridging the gap between aspirational and attainable, and to some degree pricing goes into that calculus.
Q: Let's talk for a moment about the culinary brands you have at BITE. Who are you most excited about?
A: We have Rogue 24 (RJ Cooper), Jaleo by Jose Andres, Cedar (Aaron McCloud), Windows (Laurent Lhuillier), and Luke's Lobsters (Luke Holden). Those are brand-name, award winning, restaurants/chefs spread across a variety of culinary demographics, all gathered in one place, on one day, for one purpose...to be part of BITE OF DC. I'm excited about the experiment. To some degree, it's like tweaking a recipe (no pun intended) in that you add these different ingredients hoping for a particular flavor or result. For BITE, I think the flavors will marinate nicely, and the end result will be fantastic!
Q: Last question--how do we purchase tickets and can people buy them on the day of the event?
A: To purchase tickets, please go here As you mentioned, they are only $49 and sure they can be bought on the day of the event, but we are encouraging people to buy them as soon as possible because our sister event DRINK THE DISTRICT, sells out for all sessions. To secure your spot, get your tickets today!
At that point, Steuart's phone buzzed again, and he politely asked if he could excuse himself to take a call. No rest for the weary.