Family Christmas Time

In collaboration with Maddie May
December 17, 2023
Color Club, Chicago, IL

“On December 17, Kitty Rauth and I hosted Family Christmas Time: a Midwestern High Tea Service Inspired by Dysfunctional Family Holidays presented by Round Table. We hosted just over 70 people for a 3-hour 10-course tea service meal in a drop-ceiling tavern full of gaudy Christmas decor, beer nuts, popcorn, bourbon, and a fake-beard Santa camped out in a La-Z-Boy recliner. Featuring a staff of 13, and months of preparation, we essentially opened a restaurant for one night.

My history includes years of work in bakeries, working my way up from American pies and cookies to the title Chef de Patisserie. I loved this work, dedicated myself to learning new techniques, always approached food with curiosity, watched every move of everyone around me to learn, and consistently got better. Still, I got burnt out by the lifestyle. I moved to Chicago, received my MFA, and put my creative energy back into my art practice.

Round Table, a collaborative dinner party series hosted by Kitty, brings together the art & food practices of makers in both industries. I was excited to be the third chef in the series, deciding to focus on Midwestern holiday parties as a source of inspiration from my reflections on a turbulent life as someone raised in a low-income working-class family. Taking my training in pastry and my history running a traditional tea service, I created a menu of 10 sweet and savory courses derived from the many delicious, rich, dairy-filled Midwestern holiday party dishes. This is one of the first times in a long time that I’ve been able to mend my art and food practice - it has been so exciting, and for that, I am so grateful.”

-Maddie May

  1. Buttermilk Ranch Martini with Crudité and Ruffle Chips

2. Double-stacked Ritz with Cheddar Cheese Rosette and Herb

             3. Deviled Egg Tea Sandwich with Crème Fraîche and Shallot Gremolata

4. Creamed Corn Stuffed Gougere Puff with Fine Herbes

5. Green Bean Casserole Tea Sandwich with Miso Gravy, Dusted Almond and Charred Pearl Onion Petal

6. Mashed Potato on Cheese Crisp with Mushroom Gravy and Chive Bowtie

7. Sweet Potato Casserolettes with Cornflake Pecan Crust and Torched Marshmallow Fluff

8.  Puppy Chow Clusters with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Candied Peanut

9. Club Cracker Opera Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Luxardo Cherry & Gold Leaf

10. Chocolate Orange Tart with Orange Curd, Candied Orange Peel, Maldon Salt and Round Table Chocolate Coin


FOH Staff:
Maître d': Parker Murra
Servers: Bun Stout, Ále Campos, Dana Randall
Busser: Lucas Flanders
Door: Anna Johnso
Host: Kitty Rauth

BOH Staff:
Maddie May: Chef & Expo
Jasmine Yeh & Alex Janakiraman: Sous Chefs

Food documentation: Thương Hoài Trần
Event documentation: Nolan Barry