meet the team.
this time last year we were hosting our very first common table gathering: a christmas brunch. started as somewhat of a hopeful experiment, by the end of that first meal, we felt that these gatherings we’d been dreaming of had true potential to foster something beautiful, heart-warming and inspiring for others. our vision has always been to extend what we already believe to be good about nashville: it is a city full of individuals who value authentic community and experiences. by creating our gatherings to reflect these values, authentic experiences have been born full of divine cuisine, belly laughs, late night story-telling and deep sighs of thankfulness for the reminder that “we gotta good thing goin’” in nashville, tennessee.
we are artists, we are place setters, but we are first and foremost, advocates and celebrators of life around the table. we hope those who have attended and will attend in 2014 are reminded that shared, slow and thoughtful meals with friends feed our souls and are worth making time for, if not planned on twice monthly (or weekly).
rediscover the freedom to wake up late on a saturday and ask your neighbors if they like spinach omelettes & rye toast. serve brunch on your too-small table with your mismatched dinnerware. enjoy it without a to-do list to follow. I promise it has never not been worth it.
as our gatherings have evolved, each featuring a new host home, unique group of guests and creative detail, our steadfast team has been in the background putting the pieces together. today it is an honor to finally introduce ourselves:
simoni kigweba, chef & co-founder
simoni hails from memphis, tn with roots in burundi, africa. he grew up with a love for cooking, but started taking his passion seriously when he worked for a restaurant in fayetteville, ak during college. a hop and skip later, he now cooks full-time at josephine’s - a new upscale hot spot in nashville’s 12 south neighborhood.
simoni lives, breathes & evangelizes the art of food + community. every gathering’s menu is thoughtfully themed; the time, care and detail put into developing each dish can be culminated by the “who are you, really?” question that follows. simoni & cadence’s friendship was setup two summers ago by a mutual friend based solely on their shared passion for good food and community. they’ve been dreamin’ and schemin’ since, hosting their first common table gathering together in december 2012.
cadence turpin, creative director & co-founder
cadence is originally from atlanta, ga, but traveled around before coasting in happily to nashville, tn. if you asked her why, she’d invite you over for dinner with her friends. she takes deep pride in nashville’s community and is a natural celebrator of most things communal, artful and delicious. a writer & community builder by trade, you can find her telling stories & bringin’ people together full-time at nashville rescue mission and WELD nashville.
when it comes to common table, cadence is the brains outside the kitchen (although she claims to have a world-class taste-testing palette). she works with simoni to cast vision for each gathering, delegating tasks and seeing through the details to make sure the table is set to foster a memorable community experience. she’s somehow tricked various of her super-ridiculously-awesome friends to take part, making each gathering a fun bonding experience & team effort.
mikaela steinwedell, photo + videographer, creative contributor
the real question is, “what doesn’t mikaela do?” no seriously, we’re all still trying to answer that - let us know if you find something. for common table, mikaela captures the visual experience so that we can reminisce and help tell our story better. mikaela shares the rest of our team’s passion for the nashville community (and simoni’s cooking), making her an integral addition to our creative-planning process. she is forever full of brilliant ideas, and we treasure the moments she’s been capturing for us since spring.
outside of common table, we believe mikaela is one of the most talented photographers in town. she comes to us from austin, texas, which helps explain her painfully effortless coolness. she’s also been wow-ing us with recent explorations into videography and as a skilled musician in her musical side project, traveller. she will also cut your hair and make you a mean hot bourbon cocoa. mikaela: the jill of all trades.
chris cole, drinksmith + creative contributor
chris is our resident cocktail genius. originally from forth worth, tx, he moved to nashville to attend vanderbilt university and never left because listen up: nashville needs chris cole. as co-founder of everly, an innovative drink mix company, chris excels in all things sipped. he began exploring the craft of mixology a couple years ago as a hobby and continues to be the go-to guy in our circle of friends when you need a good drink. he works with simoni before each gathering to creatively mastermind the perfect pairings. he is a priceless well of creative ideas on our team.
chris should also be getting paid commission by the city: he’s been a key player in buttering-up nashville for many of its now-residents and is consistently bringing people together for the fun of it. his passion for inclusiveness and genuine love for serving people is evident even from behind the bar. to chris! (a virtual toast.)
beyond this core team, there have been several other volunteered hands, hosts and talents that have gone into making common table a worthy adventure. we are incredibly thankful for these friends and hope to showcase more of them in the future.
until then, hi! so nice meeting you. thanks for dropping in and reading more about us. we hope to see you ‘round the table soon enough.