- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2013

A new eating experience is sweeping the underbelly of New York City, sucking in the well-dressed wealthy and adventure-seeking tourists who are tired of the blasé world of Health Department dining.

It’s called the clandestine dinner party, and it’s an outright affront to city inspectors, CBS reported.

What’s occurring is that New Yorkers are throwing secret dinners that bring together amateur foodies and top-notch chefs from more than 20 different nations for a once-in-a-lifetime eating experience. The scandal is: They’re totally absent of regulation.

As professional chef Michael Patlazhan said to CBS: “I definitely do” fear getting caught. “That’s the things with supper clubs, they’re in a sense illegal just because they are underground. No one knows about them. So if the Health Department did come, they would obviously shut it down. So there’s always a little bit of worry.”

But the cook says he’s learned to stay under health inspectors’ radar and switch locations for the dinner parties enough times to keep one step ahead of the law. Mostly, the parties are invite only, or word of mouth, and Mr. Patlazhan maintains a private website for members to keep abreast of the latest locations.

“It’s definitely kind of secret, and I think that’s the interesting part about it,” he said in the CBS report. “And a lot of it is word of mouth.”

The practice has its critics, of course.

In a statement to CBS, the Health Department said: “In New York City, people who offer meals to the public for money are considered food service establishments and need permits. The city does not allow meals to be served to members of the public in someone’s home.”

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