When one event can celebrate cultural diversity, promote the success of driven young women in a male-dominated industry — and highlight the hardworking farmers of Martha’s Vineyard, that’s a win all around. That kind of event might just need to become an annual one.

That’s what Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell, who founded the Iconoclast Dinner Experience in 2015 to celebrate cultural diversity in the restaurant industry, is planning with a special culinary evening showcasing the talents of four female chefs of color under the age of 35.

The event, titled The King is Dead., will debut on Monday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m. at The FARM Institute in Katama.  The title, in its deft editing of the ancient phrase “The king is dead. Long live the king!” suggests an end to the practice of passing the torch from one man to another.

Dr. Harvell said she is particularly excited to be partnering with The FARM Institute, because she’ll be working with two women —the FARM Institute’s Engagement Manager Lindsay Brown and Chef Meave McAuliffe — in a women-fueled event that will also feature wines and spirits selected by women (Cassandra Felix of the The Breakers Palm Beach and Lynn House of Heaven Hill Brands).

Meave McAuliffe is the Chef at the FARM Institute.

The four chefs, Nyesha Arrington (Culinary Visionary, Los Angeles), Arretah Ettarh (Gramercy Tavern, New York city), Samantha Fore (Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, Lexington, Kentucky), and Lena Sareini (Selden Standard, Detroit) will join Chef McAuliffe in making a five-course dinner (menu below) incorporating local ingredients. The chefs will arrive on the Island in time to shop at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market on Saturday, and each course of the meal will feature a local source, from the GOOD Farm to The Net Result to Morning Glory Farm.

Together the chefs visiting the Island bring a wide range of culinary experience and expertise, and a palate of flavors and ingredients influenced by global cuisine.

Lena Sareini (top photo) creates one-of-a-kind New American pastries inspired by Lebanese culinary traditions.

Samantha Fore (above) is a first generation Sri-Lankan-American who grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. She started her pop-up restaurant after traditional Sri Lankan brunches in her home outgrew her dining room.

Aretah Ettarh (above) is a first-generation Nigerian American. (Here’s her recipe for Chilled Tomato Soup, one she developed in her role as sous chef at Gramercy Tavern).

Nyesha Arrington (above) is well known for her fresh global “L.A.” cuisine, which includes the influence of the diverse foods of her childhood, including Korean bulgogi and homemade kimchi. (Try her quick and easy recipe for Aisoon Sauce.)

While these four chefs will definitely be in the spotlight Monday night, Dr. Harvell hopes The King is Dead will also achieve another goal — to help promote Vineyard farmers, artisans and chefs who live on the Island year-round.

Tickets to the event are $250 for residents of Martha’s Vineyard and $500 for non-residents. Click here for more information.


The Menu



The Farm Institute, Edgartown
The Net Result, Vineyard Haven
Little Neck Clams / Brodo Verde / Nasturtium Aioli / Grilled Baguette
Abbazia di Novacella, Kerner, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2017


Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, Lexington
The Net Result, Vineyard Haven
Poached Halibut / Lemongrass / Charleston Gold Rice + Sa ron
Saget La Perrière, Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Loire Valley, France 2018


Gramercy Tavern, NYC
The GOOD Farm, Vineyard Haven
Spice Crusted Duck Con t / Pickled Peaches / Fried Kale
Elk Cove Vineyards Estate, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2015


Culinary Visionary, Los Angeles
The FARM Institute
Braised Lamb / Semi Sec Grapes / Rosemary Jus
Château de Saint Cosme, “Les Deux Albion”, Côtes du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France 2016



Selden Standard, Detroit
Morning Glory Farm, Edgartown
Atayef / Orange Blossom Panna Cotta / Nectarines / Foraged Rosehips
Marchesi di Gresy, “La Serra”, Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 2018

Wine Pairings
The Breakers Palm Beach, FL