Plant-Based Loam Supper Club Hosts Dinners at Austin’s Fast Friends Beer Co.
Three Austin chefs showcase the value of vegetables in communal multi-course meals
When Emily Rayburn and Karlie Kramer discovered their shared dream of launching a plant-based supper club, the chefs wasted no time getting started. The duo invited Jaden Gonzales into the fold, and the founding trio hosted their first Loam supper club just a few weeks after joining forces.
“We can do some of the most beautiful things with vegetables…”
Loam was born in Rayburn’s own backyard, where diners connect with one another over a vegan and communal multi-course meal that highlights central Texas produce. Both Rayburn and Kramer eat a plant-based diet themselves, and with every meal, the chefs showcase the best that vegetables have to offer.
“We can do some of the most beautiful things with vegetables and make broccoli taste a way that you’ve never had it,” says Rayburn. Even the name, “Loam,” is a celebration of food that comes from the ground, as loam is a type of three-part soil found in Texas. “From soil to celebration — that’s something we always want to stay true to,” explains the chef.
Sourcing locally-grown produce
Ingredients come from local purveyors whenever possible, and Rayburn points to the Boggy Creek Farm as a favorite vendor that offers beautiful produce in East Austin. Rayburn believes there’s nothing better than hospitality and describes cooking as her love language, making the supper club concept a perfect fit for her passions.
“By having someone in your space and bringing them into your home, you’re saying, ‘Not only do I want to show you what I can do , I want to celebrate my favorite things with you,’” says Rayburn. “Being able to sit down at an intimate dinner in someone’s backyard — there’s no better way to get to know someone.”
From backyard to brewery
The next installation of the supper club will move from the chef’s backyard to the basement of the recently-opened Fast Friends Beer Co., where Rayburn works as the director of culinary operations. Loam’s “Never Met a Stranger” series will be held at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 5, featuring a multi-course prix fixe menu and alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage pairings.
“The space at Fast Friends is very speakeasy-esque and it’s kind of hidden so it’s literally perfect for a little supper club,” explains Rayburn. “All the food is seasonal, but also the space here is sexy. It’s romantic. It’s hidden. It’s a secret. We really wanted to play off of that with the food.”
Most Loam suppers include a natural wine pairing option, but this time, the Loam team will be putting the focus on beer to pay homage to its location at Fast Friends. The partnership with the brewery is a natural fit, as the Fast Friends team aims to make the brewery accessible for all diners and drinkers, no matter their dietary restrictions, and Head of Brewing Keith Shaw is a vegan as well.
The offerings for this special series will be a little heavier than the typical Loam menu, featuring items like Loam’s plant-based spin on beer cheese and a tomato tartare. “We tasted all the beer, and we took our seasonal produce that we know that we can get at the end of summer to create the menu,” says Rayburn.
Less than a year into its existence, Loam has catered informal weddings, bridal showers, office lunches, birthday parties and more special occasions. As their business has grown, the team has received questions about how they create some of their signature vegan creations, particularly their signature pasta, prompting the chefs to start offering classes in an effort to teach cooks how to recreate innovative, plant-based delicacies in their respective kitchens.
“We get people constantly asking us how we make fresh vegan pasta so we thought, ‘Why don’t we just teach people how to do this?’” says Rayburn. “In a world where there’s so many plants, no one’s celebrating them correctly and it’s because no one knows how to, so let’s show them.”
Upcoming event on Aug. 5
In the future, Rayburn dreams of opening a standalone Loam restaurant to host a supper club every night, but for now, foodies can enjoy the delicious dining experience as Loam hosts more supper clubs. Tickets for the “Never Met a Stranger” series at Fast Friends Beer Co. on Aug. 5 are now available for $185 each. For more information about the supper club, catering offerings and classes, visit Loam’s website and follow along on Instagram.