Most of us love having friends over for the dinner parties, though baulk at the thought of the monumental food prep and towering stack of dishes at the end. So if you like the idea of embracing Spanish gastronomy and hosting dinner parties, then you must lock in chef Ruben Lopez Mesa. Ruben settled in Orange, NSW a few years back and has been modestly building up a substantial following in the food community. He began working as a Head Chef at a local cafe but quickly found himself featuring in a line up of the very best local chefs in Orange at the recent 30th Anniversary F.O.O.D week signature events. He also founded Eat Spanish, to highlight the next generation of Spanish chefs in the Australian community. Spain has long been regarded internationally for its culinary excellence with several restaurants represented in the world’s 50 Best list. Ruben, I have observed, is one passionate and determined soul who loves to share the story of state-of-the-art Spanish cuisine. We are truly fortunate to have him right here in the Central West. To top it off, he is also just a great guy.
Ruben recently founded A Table Of Ten in January 2021 which he explained was a response to the disruption wrought by COVID-19. So throwing caution to the wind I booked the experience straight away. I have thoroughly enjoyed his food in his previous incarnations and the thought of hosting a dinner party without the preparation excited me!
The concept is creating a private dining experience for 10 people.
You book with Ruben and he then quite simply, takes care of the rest, executing a delicious 3-course menu. This includes several amazing tapas dishes followed by a Paella and dessert. I enjoyed setting the table stress-free while Ruben set up. I created a mediterranean themed tablescape; think olive branches, lemons and persimmons which worked well with a few tea lights to finish it off.
Our guests also enjoyed learning more about Spanish food and culture as Ruben would explain the origin behind each plate. One recipe which Ruben has shared recently which he thinks best defines Spain’s classic national dish is Tortilla española and it was absolutely delicious!
Apart from the fabulous company of friends, Ruben introduced a game which we were all open to, after enjoying some delicious drops of wine!
Ruben explained the ‘Bota de Vino‘ wineskin which is essentially a leather bag used to contain, preserve and transport wine. The game was COVID-19 safe as it involved sharing the Bota de Vino in a very novel way. Ruben demonstrated first and after passing it around the table, we were all laughing and applauding until a winner was chosen. I will leave this element as a surprise for those that book this experience!
The winner of the game received a prize of this amazing salt that Ruben made with Elephant garlic flowers. You can grow these to enhance your garden and then use the flowers in salt for flavour.
To bring further flair to the night, guests wore a touch of Spanish and we played the album ‘Lágrimas Negras’ on Spotify for vibe.