A Year of Studio Table

Studio Table began as a question. If we assembled a group of strangers in a unique setting to share art, food, and conversation, could that experience spark creativity and forge long-lasting community?  

Michelle Wei and Heather Day | Studio Table

When we started this project a year ago, we hoped the Studio Table concept would pique curiosity and create space for people to connect organically.  In the minutes and hours leading up to our first dinner, however, we had a lot of other things to consider: menus, plating, table settings, and transforming an industrial live/work painting studio into a functional restaurant kitchen and cozy dining space for fourteen guests. As we rearranged furniture for the fourth time that day, it was not obvious how meaningful it would be to gather and cook for groups of strangers.  But when that first dinner ended, we knew we’d hit on something special.  

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Tyra Fennell and Kelly Kong | Studio Table

Throughout the year, we’ve invited people of all kinds, from florists to tech founders and everything in between, into the studio for an exquisite meal surrounded by Heather’s paintings. Each of these dinners is made possible through the combination of Heather’s aesthetic vision, Ben’s imaginative palate, Michelle’s creative execution, and Lauren and Will’s focus and precision. But what makes each meal part of a large and ever-evolving art piece are the guests themselves. There have been meals when we’ve asked diners to eat blindfolded, or perform seated yoga at the table, or feed the stranger next to them. Our diners bring a variety of perspectives, but always come with an open mind. We’ve realized that the act of coming to dinner is only part of the story. It’s what happens during these meals that bond people and leave them inspired to take creative risks in their day-to-day lives, even if they don’t see themselves as traditional “creatives”.

Ben Roche and Will Haldean Brown | Studio Table
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Heather Day | Studio Table

In a city where people can easily insulate themselves against those with dissimilar backgrounds, we want to be a force that joins people together and creates new communities. We are proud to invite guests to take part in something sincerely creative and collaborative, and have them leave feeling like they’ve participated in something truly special. While we set up the space and create the meal, it’s really our guests and how they interact that set the tone—it’s different every time. As Studio Table has evolved, the response we’ve received from the community has encouraged and motivated us to continue taking creative risks.   It’s been heartwarming to see how people like you have championed Studio Table from the beginning—from reading posts like this and introducing yourselves online, to coming to dinner and spreading the word. We are so grateful for your support.   

Looking back over a year, we see how the creative process has molded and shaped Studio Table’s first twelve dinners. Now, looking forward, we’re taking what we’ve learned and pushing beyond.  We hope you’ll join us.

Thank you,
Michelle, Heather, Ben, Lauren and Will

Will Haldean Brown, Lauren Midori Hsia, Heather Day, Michelle Wei, Ben Roche | Studio Table

Written by Michelle Wei. Edited by Kate Holthouser and Victoria Chao.  Photos by Margaret Helfrich.

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