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Cracky Dining: This might be Berlin’s most bizarre fine dining experience

Meet Adrian Parpat and Julian Seitlinger, the Berlin-based twentysomethings bringing together quality food and outlandish performance art at Cracky Dining.

Photo: Makar Artemev

Adrian Parpat and Julian Seitlinger are in the middle of planning their next dinner party, where they will serve 12 courses (yes, 12) to 10 guests. For the evening’s entertainment, a clown is on the cards as well as slot machines and explosive confetti. Oh, and Parpat really wants a remote-controlled Zeppelin to serve the dishes.

While the dinner show borders on sensory overload, the actual food is kept simple.

In essence, it’s exactly what it sounds like: twentysomethings having a laugh. But despite their satirical approach to fine dining, it’s also a serious, well-thought-out experience, and it’s not cheap. Although they don’t pocket a cent, Parpat and Seitlinger charge €250 per person for a multiple-course meal and a wine pairing, doing everything themselves, from sourcing to preparing the ingredients, which always consist of 90% local produce, partially from their garden in Neukölln, and 10% imports.

Parpat, a Berliner by birth, and Seitlinger, originally from Munich, are not trained chefs, but they’re passionate about food. Their gastronomic venture, aptly titled Cracky Dining, launched in June last year and was inspired by the pair’s studies at the private University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy (founded by Carlo Petrini of the Slow Food movement), where dinner parties between students were a popular way to socialise: cooking a lavish meal for 20 guests would get you 20 dinner invitations in return.

Photo: Makar Artemev

Next to the monthly dinner parties, which you can only apply to attend via a waiting list on the website and hope that Parpat and Seitlinger deem you illustrious enough for the soiree, Cracky Dining also offers private dining events and catering for companies and institutions – the side of the business that brings in the money. All their events, however, are “crazy” and do without the “boring boomer fine dining crap”, as Cracky Dining’s Instagram bio and Seitlinger’s website tease. But what does that actually mean?

“Initially, we wanted to take people’s phones so that they’d actually focus on the food, but you can’t do that anymore. What you do is bombard them with so many crazy things happening at the table, so they have no time to film their meal or the evening,” Parpat explains.

“For instance, we have this Bug-A-Salt, a weapon that shoots salt, or suddenly, a waiter brings syringes to the table that you have to assemble and then inject some kind of fat somewhere, or all of a sudden, the doorbell rings, and the delivery guy from Lieferando shows up.” Seitlinger adds: “Or the balloon that has been hanging over the table the whole time gets shot down with the air rifle, and it starts raining tongue tattoos. There’s always some kind of action.”

Photo: Makar Artemev

The pair have a seemingly endless repertoire of novelties and performance artists up their sleeves, but while the dinner show borders on sensory overload, the actual food is kept simple; their Der Elch steht im Wald (“moose in the woods”) is moose tartare with a side of homegrown black kale, pickled gooseberries and mushrooms.

“Even though the things we do may seem a bit silly, we always approach food with great respect for the products and the people behind them,” Seitlinger stresses. Still, “the wink of the eye is important. It always has to be with a little twinkle in the eye,” Parpat smiles. “And it shouldn’t take itself too seriously,” Seitlinger adds.

Photo: Makar Artemev

While food and drink pairings – meat-centric and alcoholic, based on the founders’ own preferences – are the foundation, the focus evidently lies on offering a good time. “No one leaves before five or six hours,” says Parpat. “And also not under the limit,” Seitlinger laughs. The idea, they say, is to create an experience that may not be normal but is always fun, and makes use of their network of entrepreneurs, craftspeople and creatives to bring their ideas to life.

Eight months into their budding business, Parpat and Seitlinger still have big plans. Eventually, they’d like to offer their monthly dinners completely free of charge. They hope to expand internationally and dream of buying a piece of land in Brandenburg to grow all of their produce themselves – but they don’t want to become stationary. (“We will never have a restaurant.”)

Unpredictable and hilariously chaotic, the pair seem unshakable in their ambitions, both for their events and the business at large. “It makes me angry when someone says ‘it’s impossible’ – why? Just because you haven’t managed to do it yet,” says Parpat. He’s certain: “The Zeppelin is coming!”