Exclusive KC tasting club is ready to open its doors to the public

Chef Forrest Wright of KMRA Tasting Club

The upscale KMRA Tasting Club has been the creative outlet of Chef Forrest Wright for the past eight years. With no social media or website to promote his events, Wright’s theatrical and experimental dinners have remained exclusive and available to only those in the know. However, the KMRA Tasting Club has grown in popularity and the chef is finally ready to open its doors to a wider audience. 

Guests can expect anywhere from eight to ten courses, drink pairings and desserts from $180 to $200 per guest. Wright’s events are notably experimental, and guests can expect to eat (and possibly do) things they’ve never done before. Plate presentations often resemble a Jackson Pollock painting with splatters of brightly colored sauces and an abundance of textures. Some dishes even have a sculptural quality with different elements building on top of one another. Giving the meal a towering height. 

“I like to have a little bit of chaos on the plate so it’s a little unrefined, Wright says. “The contrast of something really splatter-y and messy with something really polished – it’s my signature, it’s kind of who I am as a person.”

Duck confit, beet purée, roasted blueberries, cauliflower snow and blueberry yogurt sauce

Nowadays, the chef puts on about two to three dinners a month. Each dinner features a local winery, distillery, or farm and follows a theme. Examples of themes include Carnivorous, which featured massive meaty portions and coming in August is Synesthesia which will explore the chef’s ability to “taste things in color.”

Wagyu tartar with a squid ink béarnaise sauce that makes the whole plate essentially black is just one example of Wright’s artistic delivery. One of his most requested dishes entails a roasted quail which guests must tear apart with their hands to build a sandwich.  Wright describes the interactive meal as “ very visceral.”

Heirloom tomato “raviolis,” marigolds and garlic greens oil

“I want to bring the finer things to everybody and let people explore things they might not necessarily get to eat, ingredients they might not be familiar with or be exposed to and allow them to participate in things they might not normally see.”

For those who want to attend a KMRA Tasting Club dinner, email booking@KMRAtastingclub.com or inquire through the KMRA Instagram, @kmra.tasting.club. 

Recent dinners have been held at West Side Local, but venues can vary. Details about the dinner including menu and dress code will be emailed to guests a week in advance. The dress code isn’t strict but Wright likes to encourage his guests to “dress to the theme” so they can be more immersed in the experience. Wright will also give guests a pre-interview as his dinners are intimate and guests are seated “in close quarters.”

All in all, the chef recommends guests “be ready for anything.”

Lamb chops with garlic scapes, grilled stone fruits, butter nut squash, turnips and citrus foam

The KC native has about two decades of restaurant industry experience and attended Johnson and Wales, a culinary school in Denver, before returning to KC in 2015. When he’s not curating a ten course dinner, he works as a food industry consultant. Wright was previously the regional manager for PT’s Coffee and the executive chef at Topeka’s RowHouse Restaurant. 

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