Chef Matt Overdevest managed to thrill us before we even took one bite. On a June night at Blair and Lisa Heethius’ Victorian gingerbread-style house in Heritage Hill, Overdevest debuted his newest venture (and adventure) — Steadfast Supper Club — a pop-up, fine dining experience that brings every wonderful thing that an upscale restaurant would right into your home. Don’t confuse this with catering. We are talking four- and six-course meals that are altogether far more dazzling than beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes.
Throughout the night, we caught glimpses of Overdevest working at the Wolf range, garnishing wide-rim bowls, conferring with the hostess, chilling esoteric wines with delicious backstories. The experience was reminiscent of Overdevest’s beloved but now defunct Marcona on Lyon, which offered an open kitchen view and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
With Marcona becoming a casualty of the COVID-19 health crisis, Overdevest created Steadfast Supper Club to bring luxe dining safely to you.
On this particular June day, Overdevest arrived in the early afternoon with $370 worth of provisions — chestnut mushrooms, pea shoots, garlicky ramps, green garlic, spring carrots, icicle radishes. His produce was sourced from Pebble Creek Farm in Duran, Visser Farm in Zeeland, Green Wagon Farm in Zeeland, Woodbridge Dairy Farm in Hudsonville and the Fulton Street Farmers Market — where he was board president for a long while.
“I shop it, I cook it, I serve it and I clean it. You host the party and I do all the work,” said Overdevest, whose career highlights include chef stints at top-tier restaurants and for Wolf/Sub-Zero in New York City, privately for a family, and serving as forager for a farm-to-table restaurant. “This really brings all of my history together in one venture.”
“All of this is a treat,” said Overdevest, who is “happy to present a menu ahead of time but it’s way more exciting to be surprised.”
Introducing Steadfast Supper Club
COST: A four-course meal costs $80 per person and a six-course meal costs $100 per person. Groceries and wine will be added to the bill.
MENU: “As far as the menu goes, it is wide open,” chef Matt Overdevest said. “I am versed in lots of world cuisines — Europe, Africa, the Americas and most of Asia. We can run with a tangent — build a menu around your favorite album or a train trip that you took through Europe. I want to give you an experience that you are not going to get anywhere.”
SHOWTIME: “I arrive at your home at 2 p.m., assuming dinner’s at 6 p.m.,” Overdevest said. “I’m cooking throughout the whole process and timing it out. I get my organization lined up about an hour ahead of time. I’ll set the table with their stuff and I can bring stuff as well. If they want a bar set up, I can make that happen. I’m covering all the details.”
WHY NOW: Really, what’s safer than eating at home? Until the COVID-19 threat is eliminated, Overdevest is masked up, gloved and instituting all the restaurant safety measures that he would at any restaurant. “I look at it from a consumer standpoint,” he said. “Are you comfortable sitting in a restaurant for two hours with friends and family, with a person coughing three tables over?”
For more information, visit steadfastsupperclub.com.
The Heethiuses, along with next-door neighbors David and Andrea Nemes, gave Overdevest carte blanche on the night’s menu. Neighbors Eric and Tracy Lanning and my husband, Rich Jelier, and I rounded out the dinner party.
Under a gorgeous Michigan sky, Andrea handed each guest a sublime cocktail playfully titled The Last Word — one of Overdevest’s favorite aperitifs — spiked with lime juice, green Chartreuse, small-batch Michigan gin and other ingredients.
Four tables (adhering to social distancing guidelines) set for two formed a circle on a long stretch of grass. Each table, dressed in white butcher paper and flax linen napkins, balanced two place settings for four courses, kitted with multiple fork-and-knife lineups and four wine glasses. All of this was a joint effort with the Heethiuses providing the dinnerware, the Nemeses the butcher paper and Overdevest the cutlery.
Once seated, Overdevest delivered the first course: roasted chestnut mushrooms with Hyderabadi sour dal, spiced with green chili and curry leaf, and accompanied by pea shoots and yogurt.
“For dinner tonight, I’m going to (the) subcontinent India, but not anything that you’re used to seeing. There’s no butter chicken, or even naan tonight. We’re going deeper, into the fully robust flavors of regional and traditional because that’s the fun part.”
He immediately poured the first of four wines — Orgo Rkatsiteli 2017, an orange wine, also called an amber wine, from the Republic of Georgia. “It’s made 100% from the Rkatsiteli grape,” Overdevest said, “which was the most widely planted white wine grape grown in the world and the highest production until Mikhail Gorbachev’s vine-pull scheme cut it out throughout the Eastern Bloc.”
“I shop it, I cook it, I serve it and I clean it. You host the party and I do all the work.”
Chef Matt Overdevest
Overdevest is always probing, absorbing, tasting and testing so he can compose such delicious complexities on a plate — like a dazzling gift to you.
The overall dinner experience can be described as joyful anticipation: the second course of halibut bristled in mappa sauce — a perky Kerala-style curry number that’s really a coconut-based stew — served on a tangle of spinach, asparagus and fresh coconut. The third course brought a sous vide duck confit spiced with cracklings on top — nestled in lemon dal studded with icicle radish and spring carrot, cooked in mustard oil and ginger and topped with spicy mango chutney. The final course was a whisper of sweetness — a cherry rice basmati pudding with cardamom, pepper, thyme and drizzled with rose syrup and dried cherries.
I am quite sure he sprinkled fairy dust on everything because we cleaned our plates and felt incredibly happy and satisfied, but not stuffed. We lingered into the night, happily chatting with Overdevest after he had cleaned the kitchen and packed his coolers. This was an insanely wonderful way to dine at home.
“(If) there’s one thing that I do know it’s that people are going to celebrate, to eat, to laugh,” Overdevest said. “Some things live on.”