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JEM Dining brings supper club experience to The James Lee House. Here's what to expect.

Commercial Appeal Memphis logo Commercial Appeal Memphis 5/19/2022 Jennifer Chandler, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Part of the fun at a supper club dinner is getting to meet new friends over an excellent shared meal.

That’s why when Josh Mutchnick designed the seating for his JEM Dining Supper Club pop-up dinners he knew he would have a large communal table.

“We encourage everyone to socialize and to walk away with newly formed friendship,” Mutchnick said.

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The last Wednesday of every month Mutchnick hosts a pop-up Supper Club dinner at The James Lee House for 16 guests.

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Creative dishes like Home-made Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Crisp Bacon, Whipped Ricotta and Gremolata; Truffle-Stuffed Chicken inspired by the chef’s grandmother’s Matzo Ball Soup; and Grilled Octopus with a Toasted Sunflower Romesco tend to make his monthly pop-ups sold-out events.

In addition to a wonderful meal (and what is sure to be excellent company), Mutchnick made sure the setting matched his offerings, partnering with the owners of one of the most elegant historic buildings in Memphis.

The dining table is set as Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. © Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal The dining table is set as Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

"Chef Josh's talents are evident by the precision of his technique, carefully chosen seasonal ingredients, and thoughtful meals. He is a perfect fit with the elegance of The James Lee House,” said Stacee Zeb, Boutique Hotelier at the historic bed and breakfast in the Victorian Village neighborhood.

The James Lee House offers a unique and intimate setting for each pop-up dinner.

The supper club experience

When guests arrive, they are treated to a welcome cocktail and an amuse bouche as they meet and mingle in The James Lee House living room.

Then all the attendees sit down together for a four-course meal, which often includes a few extra bites based on what inspires the chef.

Dishes are technique-driven. “I use the high-end techniques I have learned, but I make the fine dining dishes approachable,” Mutchnick said. “I want to introduce people to foods that might be intimidating, but don’t have to be.”

Each dinner is BYOB (except for the complimentary cocktail). “We do not charge a corkage fee, so feel free to bring that exclusive bottle of Burgundy or a six-pack of Bud Light … or anything in-between,” reads the dinner description online.

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About the chef

Born in raised in Mobile, Alabama, Mutchnick knew at an early age that he wanted to be a chef.

“Food was such a huge part of my life,” Mutchnick said. “Food was always an important part of our family gatherings.”

Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. © Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

After attending the Culinary Institute of America, Mutchnick spent years working in some of the top restaurants in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. His resume includes working in the kitchens of famed chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto,  José Andrés and Michel Richard.

His older sister attended Rhodes College, and when he and his wife were looking to relocate, they decided to check out Memphis, a place he had always enjoyed visiting.

The dining table is set as Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. © Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal The dining table is set as Chef Joshua Mutchnick hosts a JEM Dining Supper Club Pop-Up at the James Lee House on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

“We feel in love with Memphis. It has the heart and soul other places try to replicate,” Mutchnick said. “Plus, Memphis is a hungry city, with a great food scene.”

Mutchnick hopes one day to own a restaurant based on the concept of a supper club.

“The fine dining, technique, plus drive and passion. That combined with my spin from childhood experience of meals bringing people together to have fun and enjoy the moment,” are the words he used to describe his unique concept that for now can be enjoyed once a month at The James Lee House.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at jennifer.chandler@commercialappeal.com and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer. 

JEM Dining Supper Club

When: 7 p.m. May 25

Cost: $100 per guest; tickets much be purchased online in advance

Online: jemdining.com

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: JEM Dining brings supper club experience to The James Lee House. Here's what to expect.

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