Stephanie Nass, better known as Chefanie, has found a way to combine her loves of art, cooking, and matching through her catering company and inventive products, including Chefanie Sheets that let her easily decorate cakes to match any pattern. Chefanie also runs a private dinner club called Victory Club that combines her cooking with the work of a New York artist for a culturally immersive and delicious evening. We talked to Chefanie about how she started Victory Club, where she would love to host an event, and how membership in the program works.
Downtown: What started first, the catering or Victory Club?
Chefanie: In 2014, I began hosting friends and friends of friends for dinners in my tiny art-filled NYC apartment. Those dinners turned into a roving series of art-inspired meals to which Victory Club members are invited at the beginning of every month. My catering business followed in the same style as Victory Club.
Downtown: Tell us about the first meal, how did it go?
Chefanie: The first meal was 10 people I knew. The dinner was centered around my art work and art collection. It went smoothly and felt natural. People didn’t want to leave at the end of the night.
Downtown: How did you decide to go from your apartment to art spaces?
Chefanie: The events outgrew my apartment, and I wanted each event to showcase new art.
Downtown: How do you choose whom to collaborate with?
Chefanie: I work with spaces, people, and art that I love!
Downtown: How do the menus reflect the spaces/artists?
Chefanie: I create food that is either conceptually or visually inspired by the art in each space. For example, I might serve the artist’s favorite foods or ravioli that looks like a painting.
Downtown: How does membership work?
Chefanie: Members apply here to receive the monthly newsletter. They pay $100 monthly to attend at least 2 events per month. The vast majority of events are gratis for members, but sometimes it is discount codes for partner events. Sometimes we offer passes to art fairs and art shows as well.
Downtown: Does the size of the meals vary?
Chefanie: Yes! It varies based on the size of the venue.
Downtown: Is there something that unifies the whole series?
Chefanie: There are many signature items that unify Victory Club events: there is always food, as well as an art talk, tour, or lecture. When it’s a seated meal, the menus are handpainted, the napkins are embroidered with the Victory Club logo, and there are always warm baked cookies between the entree and dessert.
Downtown: What NYC space are you dying to host a dinner in?