"Flying table" lifts gourmet dining to new heights

Wed Jun 6, 2012 1:32pm EDT
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By Stephanie Ebbs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - If someone drops a fork at Dinner in the Sky, a seven-ton platform may have to be lowered 50 meters (yards) to pick up a new one, so diners tend to keep a good grip on the cutlery.

Joining a growing trend for extreme dining - from supper in the dark to eating in the jungle - Dinner in the Sky takes the concept to, well, new heights, with a select group of guests sitting around a table suspended 160 feet in the air.

You could be eating above a forest, hovering above a beach or dangling in the midst of a European capital, floating above landmarks usually only seen from the ground. Whatever the location, the aim is to elevate dining out of the ordinary.

That's the case with the Brussels edition of Dinner in the Sky, which during June gives 22 diners at a time the chance to enjoy gourmet food and champagne while suspended near sites such as the Royal Palace, the famed Atomium or the Cambre forest.

"I just thought, wouldn't it be nice if we could eat up here?" Stefan Kerkhofs, one of the Belgian creators, explained as a group of guests was hoisted above Brussels this week.

Kerkhofs, who used to set up bungee-jumping and amusement part installations, partnered with marketing executive David Ghelys to develop Dinner in the Sky six years ago. The two now travel the world putting on dramatic dining shows.

Kerkhofs has designed and built 40 platforms and charges up to 250 euros ($310) a head for the experience, with Las Vegas, Barcelona, Paris, Monaco and Tokyo all popular destinations.

While the views from up above are spectacular, the aim is to ensure that the food is too, with some of the world's top chefs preparing the meals. One recent menu included foie gras, lobster with lemongrass and crispy veal sweetbreads followed by a chocolate, caramel and coconut concoction.   Continued...

Guests enjoy a "Dinner in the Sky" on a platform hanging in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels June 4, 2012. "Dinner in the Sky" can accommodate 22 guests, seated at a table suspended from a crane at a height of 50 metres. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet