Matthew Swinnerton has done it again: he started Event Santa Cruz in September 2013 to tell stories about local businesses and the people behind them, and he’s been bringing our community fantastic monthly events—always sell-outs—ever since. The next one, “PopUp Santa Cruz Night,” is June 25 with eight speakers. Warning to all you foodies out there: tickets are almost gone.
The setting is An Epicurious Lifestyle, owned by Adrienne Megora and Marci Prolo—themselves speakers in last November’s ‘Edible Santa Cruz’ program from Event Santa Cruz. As Swinnerton has announced on the eventsantacruz.com site, Megora and Prolo are welcoming attendees into their kitchen “to sample delicious PopUps from all over Santa Cruz” before listening to the speakers, who are all part of the burgeoning Santa Cruz PopUp movement.
Scheduled speakers, in alphabetical order:
- Matthew Armstrong – Mutari Chocolate
- Elizabeth Birnbaum – Slow Food Santa Cruz
- Austin Kaye – Back Porch
- Charles Lambert – Ocean2Table
- Zachary Mazi – Lionfish Supper Club
- Noah Kopito – Mortal Dumpling
- Ty Pearce – Ty’s Eatery
- Justin Williams – Kickin Chicken
Lionfish’s Zachary Mazi recently came across some intriguing statistics from Eventbrite: “In 2014, PopUp dining events enjoyed the largest growth of any type of ticketed event, with an 82% increase in attendance and sales,” Mazi shares. “Following closely on the heels and coming in second on growth was Communal Dining events, at around 64% growth.” One reason Mazi cites for his excitement about participating in Event Santa Cruz: PopUp: “…we are riding a national wave of the changing face of dining, and it feels like Santa Cruz really has a lead on this particular growing industry.”
Mazi likes being able to have a dialogue with the local foodie community. “Foodies should know that connecting back to the source of our food is the most important step anyone can take in their eating habits,” he says. “For me, that includes growing your own food, foraging, understanding your local food history and your current agricultural surroundings. LionFish strives to bring these factors to full attention with every meal we craft.”
Ty Pearce is very enthusiastic about the June 25 event. “It brings exposure to a lot of great PopUps, and gives each of us the opportunity to explain why we are going on this journey in the PopUp world.” I met Pearce a few weeks ago when I ate his delicious food at the weekly Wednesday night Food Lounge PopUp, and it’s obvious how much care goes into his creations. “I take the time to source organic wholesome ingredients that make delicious comfort food that is sold at a fair price,” he says. “My menu can be completely customized to each individual’s lifestyle needs.”
Speaker Justin Williams, chef and co-owner of Kickin Chicken, is looking forward to the event. “This is a great opportunity to talk about how late-night food doesn’t have to be subpar,” says Williams. “We strive to deliver the undeliverable!”
Back Porch owner/chef Austin Kaye is honored that he was included in this program. “I enjoy being part of an event that explores the pop-up scene in Santa Cruz, with an emphasis on community and collaboration, rather than competition,” shares Kaye. “I can’t wait to talk about something that I care so much about!” Back Porch has just acquired a food trailer, and on the evening of June 25 Kaye will be revealing its menu and its late summer locations.
Matthew Armstrong, Mutari Chocolate co-founder, also looks forward to speaking to local food fans June 25. “The way we make and deliver our chocolate has always been something exciting to speak about,” says Armstrong. “We are doing something both new and traditional, that also carries my own personal adventure. Armstrong is very excited to hear from “others in the community who have their own stories of inspiration.”
Slow Food Santa Cruz Board Chair Elizabeth Birnbaum is thrilled to be included in Event Santa Cruz’s PopUp Night. “I am the only woman in the speaker line-up, and the only non-chef/food producer. I am also the only non-business-owner of the group, but I am always creating food-based projects and am presently working to build a business.” Birnbaum has collaborated with some of the other speakers—including Mutari, LionFish, and Mortal Dumpling. “They are all awesome and I am inspired by working with them!”
“Being the only non-chef, I have an interesting opportunity to cross over between the chefs and food producers, and help support them all by creating events,” Birnbaum adds. “I consider myself an event producer and community organizer. I especially love creating space for food literacy education. I have been able to do this for work and for fun, which is really incredible.”
Tickets are only $15; purchase tickets online at eventsantacruz.com. There are only 38 tickets left as of Sunday morning, June 14. There are also a limited number of “annual passes” available for $75. This grants pass-holders admission to 12 consecutive months of events, through June 2016.
For more information call 831-332-8677. Ian Janco is the evening’s musical guest.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
6 p.m. doors open, and food will be served from most of the speakers
7 p.m. speakers begin
Location: An Epicurious Lifestyle, 104 Bronson St. Suite 13, Santa Cruz
Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.