On a Saturday evening in mid-October, Kyley McGeeney offers pink-hued aperitifs to a baker’s dozen of food enthusiasts in the diminutive living room of her colonial in Silver Spring’s Woodmoor neighborhood. In the kitchen, Vincent Badiee, the chef de cuisine at Washington, D.C.’s Gravitas, tops 14 plates with canapes, including individual spoons of oxtail marmalade and a small porcelain hen’s egg filled with scrambled eggs and bacon cubes.
The canapes are the first of four courses to be served during the evening’s gathering of the Woodmoor Supper Club, a near-weekly dinner hosted by McGeeney and featuring a notable D.C. chef cooking for 12 to 18 guests, most of whom don’t know each other.
Badiee is filling in for Matt Baker, chef and owner of Gravitas, who told
McGeeney he couldn’t make it because he was swamped with reservations. Just 18 days earlier, Gravitas had been awarded a coveted star from Michelin, the French tire company that publishes what many consider to be the most prestigious restaurant guide in the world.
Once at the table in the dining room, McGeeney informs the diners of the cast change. They are unruffled as they dig into tuna sashimi with osetra caviar and chat about the latest restaurants. No one seems fazed when Badiee sets off the smoke alarm while searing lavender-marinated pheasant breasts for the third course, a mishap that can occur when restaurant chefs cook in private homes.
McGeeney began hosting the Saturday night dinners in March 2019. “We’ve had everyone from Michelin two-starred chefs such as Aaron Silverman of Pineapple and Pearls, and Joshua Hermias, formerly of Minibar, to people opening their first restaurants, such as Christian Irabién,” McGeeney says. She charges $95 to $120 per person, with an optional beverage pairing for another $40 to $60; diners also can bring their own alcohol. She keeps $10 to $20 per guest for expenses; the rest goes to the chef and staff.