Around four years ago, Syd Suntha (who now runs popular Sri Lankan food cart Kottu) was jotting down ideas for different food events, when he landed on the idea of putting on a Wu-Tang-themed dinner. “I’ve loved them since I was a kid, and I think they’re one of those groups that resonate with every single person,” Suntha says.
At first, it was just going to be a five-course event with just him cooking. But then he thought, “There’s nine members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Why not have nine chefs at the event?” And since the number 36 is featured in the group’s debut album, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” Suntha decided to serve 36 courses instead of five.
The event was postponed twice during the pandemic, but it’s now scheduled for September or October of this year. Suntha is also a finalist for a $10,000 prize from Eventbrite (in a contest that can be vote on once until June 29), though he’ll put on the event whether he wins or not. “If I win, it’s going to be one version of it where we’re going to bring in some special guests and have a little more money to play with,” Suntha says. “And if I don’t win, it’s still going to be fucking awesome.”
Eighteen of the “courses” in the meal will be food, nine will be drinks, and nine will be experiences like shows from rappers, MCs, and musicians.
Suntha says the nine chefs are yet to be decided, and that he’ll announce them over the next few months. But he hinted that he’s talking to some local Top Chef alums, among other big names in Seattle’s food world. Dave Storm from Snoqualmie barbecue restaurant Buckshot Honey has already committed to contributing a couple of dishes.
Dishes Suntha has already developed for the event include Ooh Baby, I Like it Raw, a dish inspired by the lyrics of the song “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” with local albacore, beets, roasted chilis, and amaranth. One Blood Under W, based on a song of the same name, is a dish with blood sausage on brioche.
The drinks will be curated by Friendly Gomez, a local mixologist who’s done several pop-culture pop-ups in the past and has served Wu-Tang-themed cocktails at afterparties for Wu-Tang shows. (Suntha also recently threw a wildly successful pop-up at the Shambles based on the TV show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.) Gomez’s drinks include the Ghost-Trace Killah (a play on the name of Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah) made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, maple, lemon, mint, and egg white, and Old Dirty Plastered (an ode to Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard), a lager with a mini martini. Suntha doesn’t drink alcohol, and Gomez will be serving nonalcoholic versions of many of the drinks as well.
Experiences will include a Wu-Tang-themed escape room from Seattle Escape Games that will reveal the menu for the evening, live painting by local artist Rich Hall, and a cellist named Jillian Walker, who will play Wu-Tang songs to pair with certain food courses. The rappers and MCs are yet to be announced.
The budget for the event is around $60,000, which will be bumped up to $70,000 if Suntha wins the event. Tickets will be around $333 either way, so if you want him to have more money to mess around with, vote in the Eventbrite contest every day to make sure he gets that extra $10,000. You can follow Syd Suntha on Instagram to stay updated on the event.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Eventbrite could be voted on once a day. People can only vote once in the contest.