I went to a “Sunday Brunch” put on by Atlanta Underground Market . Usually, it has always been on a Saturday but this month… Sunday was selected and it was a huge success.
You ask…what is an underground market? It is people who love to cook and want to share their cuisine outside their family or friends. Sorta maybe test drive the notion of opening their own restaurant or catering business. It is a unique concept for owners of restaurants to find new chefs. Even Chef’s can find a Sous Chef.
By going underground, government permits, license, insurance, lease of kitchens, etc., etc. required to operate a restaurant, can be avoided by simply setting up a table and see how well you will be received.
Atlanta Underground Market is a member only club. It’s free to join. By keeping it private, vendors don’t have to worry about regulations. This could raise concern with members regarding safety issues. Not to sweat… Food is cooked on propane gas stoves and kept warm in trays over sterno. I observed all vendors including staff aka family and friends, using gloves. I don’t know about you at home but I for one wear gloves. I can’t stand washing my hands over and over and having the tips of my fingers crack from drying out.
Many vendors are caterers and some are personal chefs who come to your home for a night and cook a gourmet meal or to cut price, delivery will be made.
There were at least 30 vendors set up selling, for a few bucks, foods from Alligator Springroll to Ethiopian Cuisine to Brazilian Sweets to Venezuela Arepas.
In times past, AUM has had to stop members at the door to wait for members already inside to leave this fun way of gathering.
Michaela Graham, head of AUM sends out e-mails to all members first telling the date of an event and later another last-minute e-mail is received by members giving the location and time of the party.
It is always kept a secret even to the vendors. Since it is “underground” events are never advertised.
While living in San Francisco, Michaela use to attend the underground markets there and decided after moving to Atlanta, that she would start a market here. I know she is glad she did. For the three-hour event Michaela was all smiles.
If you want to try out foods in secret, look up in your area for an underground market. Remember….shhhhh! Mums the word.