Experimental dining series It's a Dinner aims to bring Hamptonites together over an intimate meal brimming with the fresh flavors of the season.
Ana Hito created the It’s a Dinner series as a way to celebrate local, seasonal fare in a stunning setting.
Ana Hito learned the importance of communal dining from her family’s roots on a small island in the Pacific Ocean called Rapa Nui, where she savored many meals as a child. The community was close-knit; however, “the food we ate on the island was less about pleasure and more about sustenance,” Hito explains. “When I came to the States, I’d go to friends’ houses and watch their parents do something as simple as saute green beans in garlic, and it was then that I began to understand the beauty in layering flavors, however simple, to create nourishing and delicious food. And how food has so much to do with how a space feels—if it feels warm and cozy, or bright and energetic.”
When Hito’s grandfather left his large piece of property in upstate New York to her family, Hito realized she had the perfect setting to further explore her passion for food. “Once he passed it became a farm, and the next natural thing was to throw impromptu dinners for my friends full of the bounty from what the field had to offer that week, day or season,” she shares. The idea snowballed from there, and in 2016, Hito and a small team of friends hosted a ticketed event for 75 guests. It’s a Dinner was born.
This season, the founder and talented chef behind the dining series will craft her exquisite field-to-table dishes from scratch to pair with the magical ambiance of the Sagaponack Farm Distillery, resulting in an intimate and unforgettable experience. “In my cooking I want to showcase what’s available in the community that surrounds the dinner table in an elegant yet unfussy way,” says Hito, who previously worked as Goop’s food director. “There’s no need for foam or bubbles when you cook with what’s in season and available locally to create a meal that’s warm and comforting and fresh.”
Everything seen at her dinners is shoppable via a Menu Magazine offering recipes, interviews, tablescape tips and more.
When guests arrive for one of Hito’s dinners, they are greeted with a cocktail and a small bite before being seated at their table for the five-course meal, “and they’ll never once worry about being over- or underdressed,” she says. The fact that diners are able to shop everything they see on the table via a Menu Magazine only adds to It’s a Dinner’s unique appeal. “We hope to showcase all the brands, farms and makers that make each dinner possible,” Hito explains. “We partner with brands who we love and really believe in—we use True Botanicals every day, we put Pineapple Collaborative olive oil on truly everything, and we think no table is complete without Casafina plates and Sempli glassware.”
In addition to being fully shoppable, the events are also sustainable. “Sustainability drives so much of what I do at It’s a Dinner—why would I go to the city for imported flowers when everything I need can be picked from the fields around the farm? Why would I buy produce from faraway places when I could use what’s around me to create the most wonderful and nourishing meal?” says Hito. “To me, sustainability means supporting and maintaining the communities wherein we host dinners. It’s about getting to know each other and then getting to know you as you take a seat at our dinner table.” Upcoming dinners Oct. 15, 16 and 17, Sagaponack Farm Distillery, 369 Sagg Road, Sagaponack
Photography by: TABLESCAPE AND ANA HITO PHOTOS BY NATALIE CHITWOOD; PHOTOS COURTESY OF IT’S A DINNER