Seattle’s smokey atmosphere served as the perfect background for Chef Syd Suntha’s Wu-Tang-inspired Sunday dinner party held in mid-September. As one of Eventbrite’s RECONVENE Accelerator grant program winners, Suntha set out to bring to life a dream that’s been years in the making. Gathering up some of the city’s top chefs, and most interesting creative acts, Syd proved Wu-Tang is not only for the children but for all.
Although the global pandemic forced a delay in plans, the timing of the food-filled night worked out. Suntha and Gary Szeredy, the owner of the Queen Anne Beerhall, were able to connect virtually during the nationwide shutdown. Through online interactions, the two men built a relationship that manifested into a venue secured.
“Quarantine happened, and then basically, in that time, I just had time to daydream. How can I make the best possible event? Who were the best chefs in Seattle?” Suntha shared with VIBE during the event.
“I just want to work with everyone. What Eventbrite’s done, just trying to bring everyone together…Two years was a long time to sit at your house.”
Entering the Queen Anne Beerhall, an excited, diverse crowd sported t-shirts, hoodies, and more branded with the familiar yellow and black color scheme affiliated with the Wu-Tang logo. Flyers and floral arrangements decorated the rustic space as fans of Hip-Hop, fine dining, or both joined for the evening of festivities. During the dinner party, guests held the Wu-Tang “W” in the air as DJ Klavicle kept classics like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Protect Your Neck” booming through the speakers.
Ahead of each course, the various chefs took the stage to explain their curated dishes and proclaim their admiration for the Staten Island avengers. Each menu item was crafted and named after a Wu-Tang song, lyric, or elements, such as the “Duck Seazon” duck confit tacos or the “Old Dirty Bastard” bourbon-poured cocktail.
For Suntha, the event inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan meant more than paying homage to the iconic Hip-Hop group. He channeled his passion for food and music to produce “All In Together Now” and was not deterred as his own life was essentially falling apart.
“I’ll be honest, I just went through a divorce. I lost all my friends. Sh*tty living situation, sh*tty job situation. I was the most depressed I’ve ever been, and I worked on this Wu-Tang thing. This was my
escape. And it’s crazy because I turned my life around. Quit drinking. Did all this sh*t. And this was the
whale. If I can f**king do this, I can do anything,” Suntha exclaimed.
Highlights beyond the food included live performances all related to Wu-Tang or Hip-Hop culture as they coexist. A-Queen, Femi, and Narin Vahn delivered a perfect balance of cringe and carnal comedy sets. Artist Rich Hall created a live painting before it was auctioned off at the event for $1300, with the funds benefiting the Multicultural Association of Edmonds.
Additionally, there was a captivating breakdance performance by Massive Monkees, an interactive performative dance by local educator Kisha, a “String Battle” by Cello Face Jilla and Friends where they played Wu-Tang hits on string instruments, and A Seattle Tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan by Last Night Sound, Nia Nikol, and Pesky Penguine.
In between rounds, there was also a Wu-Tang Trivia battle where contestants took on the Hot Sauce Eating Contest presented by Ballyhoo Hot Sauce and Hab Hot Sauce. Participants and eager eaters were prized and gifted with Wu-Tang branded socks, Killah Koffee by Ghostface Killah, and additional merchandise inspired by or produced by the group.
Toward the end of the feast, Suntha asked the audience, with bellies full of spirited cocktails and perfectly uncooked beef tartare, if they’d want to have the event again. After overwhelming applause and approval, Suntha joked, “Next week,” as he exited the stage.
With a unique idea, developed audience, and now proven success, Suntha can continue, keeping in mind his biggest lesson learned now that the inaugural All In Together Now Dinner has become a reality.
“Just trust people,” he expressed as his biggest takeaway. “I was stressing out about the drinks and the food and everything matching up, and [those involved] would be like, ‘Syd, We got it. We got it.’ And then after the first course, I saw the symphony come together and thought, ‘Just trust people. If they’re here, they want to be here, and they’re going to do the best job they can.’ That’s it. I just learned to trust people and love people.”
Our biggest takeaway? If you are in search of a night of fine-dining scored by Wu-Tang’s greatest hits, want to open your palate, or want to freshen up on those Wu-Tang facts, then Chef Syd Suntha’s next All In Together Now series just might be the move.