PoetryReading is an invitation-only fine-dining experience;


    like an underground restaurant that takes place in your home!










  • Do you fantasize about throwing a formal dinner party
    but you're intimidated by the prospect of cooking for everyone? 

    Create your own Underground Restaurant for the night!

    Think of attending a Poetry Reading event as a hybrid between being a guest at a dinner party and going to a restaurant. Known by many names, such as underground restaurant, supper club or closed door restaurant, these dining events are usually advertised by word of mouth, and require an invitation, reference or advance approval to make a reservation.



    Regardless of what the name, these are fine dining events where guests can enjoy a wonderful meal outside of the traditional restaurant experience. Sometimes there's an event or an agenda, but it can also be to celebrate a landmark, or just as an excuse to get together over good food.


    Why go to a restaurant? You've invested so much time and effort decorating your own home, making it comfortable and cozy! At a restaurant, you have no say over the menu, or who's seated next to you. The wine is marked up, the ambiance is out of your control, and your waiter may be eager to sit the next guests at your table, leaving you feeling rushed and uncomfortable.


    Underground dining provides a more intimate, dinner-party style experience than a traditional restaurant. Guests are often seated at a common table, and encouraged to interact with each other. Food can be served in any manner the host chooses:

    • individually plated, as done in a modern restaurant setting, or
    • as a buffet, so that everyone can help themselves before being seated, or
    • "family style", where platters are passed among participants at the table.

    If you like, the chef can come to the table between courses to explain the origin of the food, how it was prepared, and to share some history of the cuisine. The menu is typically set based on an event, cuisine or other theme. All guests would be served the same courses at the at the same time. If food allergies are a consideration, the chef can make an adjustment if given advance notice.



    Does anyone read poetry? 

    The name "Poetry Reading" comes from brainstorming about the kind of event that people would probably not want to invite themselves to attend:


    Neighbor: I noticed all those cars at your house the other night.

    Did you throw a party and didn't invite me?

    YOU: We had a Poetry Reading.

    Neighbor: Oh. Okay... Sounds boring.

    YOU: No, it was a nice time actually...!


    Wherever you want!


    A) Your Own Home, where you can stay as late as you like, drink whatever you like, smoke cigars, watch movies, play games, and really relax.

    B) Other Venue, such as a community clubhouse, church event room, or other venue with access to cooking/cleaning facilities. A venue like this will probably provide tables & chairs, so all you need is place settings (china/flatware/stemware) and tablecloths, which Chef JoAnna has available for rent, or you can use nice, high-quality disposables.


    C) Vacation Rental Home: Should you want to host an event somewhere besides your own home, you can rent a private home through a "Vacation Rental" service like VRBO.com or AirB&B.com. Chef JoAnna has worked with several homeowners who rent their homes this way! You can stay for just one night, or make a long weekend out of it. Most homes can easily accommodate 10 guests for dinner, even though only one (or two) couples would be spending the night. The cost isn't much more than a hotel, but it's a very luxurious option for a special dinner!

  • "So I get to throw an Ina Garten style dinner party, but I don't have to cook?"


    If you'd like to set up a PoetryReading dinner, here's a way to start:
    1. Let your friends & family know about this fun dinner event, to see who is interested. Find out what date most of your friends are available.
    2. Contact the chef to discuss a menu, and arrange a date.
    3. Chef will set up a page on Eventbrite with all the details, and your friends can purchase tickets directly from Eventbrite. 
    4. Once your group has registered the minimum number of attendees, the date will be confirmed, and reserved exclusively for you. 
    5. If you have not met the minimum attendees by the deadline, the event will automatically cancel, and all deposits will be refunded in full. (more details below)
    NOTE:   You have the option of subsidizing the costs of the tickets so that participants pay a smaller amount, or you can fully host the dinner, (as if hiring me through http://ChefJoAnna.com) so that guests don't pay at all. And you can always ask your guests to bring their own wine.
    *** Also, as the host, since you're doing the planning and coordinating, the cost of your participation can be absorbed by the other guests. Let me know if you would like to take advantage of this option.
    The number of guests is up to you. It's best for at least 8 guests to participate (8 tickets minimum), although it is recommended that there be no more than 16 guests per event.
    Reservations must be made, and paid for, in advance. The cost can vary from $75 to $95+ per person, depending on the menu and level of service. This does not include gratuity.
    Once the event date is confirmed (the cancellation deadline has passed and the minimum headcount has been met), the event will take place rain-or-shine. No refunds.


    A non-alcoholic beverage and Hors d'Oeuvres will be served upon arrival. Your menu can include between 4 and 6 courses, consisting of any combination of  appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, and dessert.  Beverage offerings will be Sweet/Unsweet Tea and Water. (Of course, you can serve your own beverages!) Later, Hot Tea, Coffee & Decaf will be offered with dessert. 
    Chef JoAnna is a classically trained chef, and has traveled extensively throughout Europe. She can prepare foods from all cultures and cuisines. What do you want on your menu?
    • Russian 
    • Chinese 
    • Greek
    • French
    • Oaxacan
    • Ethiopian
    • Indian
    • Spanish (Tapas)
    • Austrian
    • Moroccan
    • Polish
    • Italian
    • Brasilian
    • Jamaican
    • German
    • Thai
    • Cuban
    • Irish
    You can also arrange a menu around events or diets, such as
    • Decadent Valentine's Menu
    • Vegetarian Thanksgiving
    • Gluten-Free Fine Dining 
    • Vegetarian or Vegan Dining
    • Paleo- or Keto- based diets
    • Make a suggestion!
    Please note: Chef reserves the right to change any part of a menu, at any time, for any reason... but it would have to be a pretty good reason, like market fluctuations or seasonal availability of ingredients.


    Chef JoAnna is a classically-trained chef who specializes in at-home fine dining. Like the renown Julia Child, JoAnna first attended culinary school in her early 30's, and started cooking professionally soon after. While attending culinary school in Santa Monica, CA, she earned a 4.0 GPA as well as certifications in Nutrition, Cost Control, Culinary Management and Safety & Sanitation.

    Chef JoAnna has appeared on several television programs. She was featured in a segment on "BBQ with Bobby Flay" on Food TV, and has also appeared as a guest chef on several reality TV shows, including Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-List", MTV's "Next" and on "Survival of the Richest".

    Originally from Chicago, Chef JoAnna lived in Los Angeles, where she attended culinary school, then moved to the Nashville area, to have a huge garden, and possibly... eventually... a small farm-to-table restaurant.




  • (Heaven Forbid)


    Since the number of participants is limited, cancellations have a huge impact on these events.
    • If someone cancels with MORE than two week's notice, he/she will receive full refund, HOWEVER...
    • ...a guest's cancellation may cause the guestlist to fall below the minimum number of attendees. If this happens, the host or another attendee can purchase additional tickets to meet the minimum. If the minimum has not been met, the entire event may be cancelled. 

    As a host, it's to your advantage to invite as many people as possible!
    Eventbrite will automatically manage a waiting list.
    • If someone cancels with LESS than two weeks notice (i.e. after the Eventbrite cancellation deadline) refunds shall not apply under any circumstances.
    No-Shows get no credit and no refund.
    Hosts, please let your guests know to give as much notice as possible if they are unable to attend.
    If a guest cannot attend personally, he/she can send someone else in his/her place, but please make sure that they are aware of the no-show policy!

    If you've ever wanted to have your own restaurant,
    Chef JoAnna can help make it a reality,
    even if just for one night! 
    If you're hungry for something new, let's talk!










    (931) 292-2433
  • • • •


    What's a "degustation"?

    A degustation is a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods. Chefs preparing these foods are focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, and high culinary art.

    When there's a degustation at a Poetry Reading event, it means that the Chef will be exploring a certain food, or family of foods, in a variety of ways. You might have a meal that consists of several different types of that food, served in many different ways. For example, think of all the different kinds of tomatoes there are, and the various flavors you would get with these dishes:

    • Fried Green Tomatoes
    • Tomato Aspic
    • Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes
    • Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup)
    • Tomatoes Provençal
    • Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
    • Tomato Jam with Chevre
    • Tomato Sorbet

    It's a fun way to take the best of what the season has to offer, and showcase all the ways an item can be eaten!  Although degustation is a French term, most Americans will pronounce it deh-gus-TAY-shun.


    Other Websites for Underground Restaurants
    • www.saltshaker.net/underground-dining-scene‎
    • www.concentratemedia.com/features/undergrounddining0162.aspx‎
    • http://supperclubfangroup.ning.com/page/the-supper-club-map-a-work-in
    • http://www.theghet.com/page/links-to-our-culinary-comrades


    • http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/12/03/121203fa_fact_goodyear?currentPage=all
    • http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2013/10/underground_dining_guide_kulin.php?page=2
    • http://fertilegroundzine.blogspot.com/2010/04/eatable-supper-club.html
    • http://chubbyvegetarian.blogspot.com/2012/06/eatable-supper-club-june-24-2012.html
    • http://www.concentratemedia.com/features/undergrounddining0162.aspx
    • http://www.concentratemedia.com/features/annarborundergroundeats0098.aspx


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