Napa Valley’s Ubuntu restaurant has built a dandy business by combining a yoga studio with chef Jeremy Fox’s imaginative food, all in one venue. Now other noted chefs are getting on the yoga-cum-food bandwagon, at least for one night, as part of the Jam Sessions: Yoga for Foodies national tour. If you’re looking for a new way to fill your seats on a slow night, this might be a good option.
The Jam Sessions tour is the brainchild of “Wellness Expert” David Romanelli. Its format calls for Romanelli to first lead a group of diners through a one-hour vinyasa flow yoga practice specially designed to prepare them physically and spiritually for the meal to follow. Then the group moves on to a fine dining meal prepared by a high-profile chef. “In your post-yoga splendor,” Romanelli tells prospective guests, “the featured chef will delve into the mystery of their creations while guiding you through a feast.”
Who’s doing the cooking? “Jam Sessions chefs will be some of the very best in the nation, all of whom embrace sustainability, eco-friendly practices, local farming and compassion. This will be a dream experience for anyone who relishes a savasana so sweet you never want it to end.” Savasana is the pose of total relaxation that concludes most yoga practices.
We don’t know what Romanelli is like as a yoga teacher, but he’s put together quite a list of chefs. After beginning in New York City later this week on Jan. 22 at chef Joy Pierson’s vegan hotspot Candle 79, the tour hits the road. February stops include a three-day retreat in Scottsdale featuring food from chefs Francesco Roccato and Claudio Urciuoli of Prado at the Intercontinental Montelucia and a one-nighter with chef Jonathon Sawyer of Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland.
March takes Jam Sessions to Chicago, where Randy Zweiban of Province will cook, and to Phoenix, where Lauren Baily of Postino Wine Café will handle the food. April will see Dean Fearing of Fearing’s in Dallas hosting one of these events. Romanelli expects to announce other dates soon.
The basic idea here is that the yoga experience heightens the dining experience. “After yoga, we’re more aware and better able to discern fresh food from factory food, grass-fed from corn-fed, nutritious and satiating from filling and depleting,” Romanelli says.
So are there many yoga practitioners who are also foodies and are willing to spend money on both? There appear to be plenty, if Ubuntu’s success is any measure. If your restaurant embraces sustainable food and eco-friendly operations, this promotion, or something like it, might be worth a try.