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Dinner Remixed

Tony Hornecker is changing the way we have dinner parties with his supper club The Pale Blue Door

Written by . Published on January 6th 2012.

Dinner Remixed

SOMETIMES you witness someone or something a bit out of the ordinary, a bit whacky dare I say. But rather than casting a snobby, incredulous eye you extract something a little bit special with ingenuity and shear audacity gleaming at you like a sore thumb. This can be said for interior designer/ex-waiter/chef Tony Hornecker, a self-confessed nomadic and the brains behind The Pale Blue Door.

I'm obsessed by nomadism and the ways of the gypsy. Initially we visited Santiago in Chile where we built a crazy set in the mountain serving the food via pullys through the trees.

If you haven't heard of the man, now is a probably a good time to get you acquainted. Arguably one of the brightest creative sparks to come out of Hackney, Tony is on a journey not many people will ever take. To give you a little background, he had been working as a set designer for a number of years in London until the recession cast its  relentless 'you're now redundant' spell. His agent went out of business and all looked, to put it bluntly, pretty shit.

Refusing to go back to waiting tables, as well as a determination to guide his artistic talent away from the commercial sphere he'd found himself in previously, Tony started what is now known as The Pale Blue Door three years ago. This unusual and inspiring project turns his house into a pop-up restaurant. But why would anyone in their right mind want a bunch of strangers invading their humble abode?

“Years of on-off experience of working in restaurants, a love of anything clandestine and a genuine desire to share my home all contributed,” says Tony. “Everyone I knew was skintight so I got my out of work stylist and photographer friends to waiter, I cooked, and my delightful friend and extremely talented entertainer A Man To Pet performed. It was a sensation. It ran for a month and then regularly over the next six months.”


A Man To Pet, in case your wondering, is Tony's star attraction. The small fact that he's a crossdresser might be why. He puts on a cabaret show in between the three courses made by Tony himself, and in which the male diner's get made to feel rather uncomfortable.

The set itself is difficult to label, various paraphernalia swamps the walls, most prominently, gypsy clothes. It is rather like entering an oversized doll's house. Tables are put in various crooks and crannies, including a mezzanine area of sorts which includes a bed for the taller folk to stretch their cramped legs out on. There's a TV with porn on too, it really doesn't get much better than this. The house can hold up to 24 diners at a time. A sweet little bar nestles in a corner of the main floor and the kitchen is located at the back of the house.

The seed had been planted and since then Tony has taken his bag of tricks around the world, and most recently Glastonbury, creating a four bedroom Love Hotel in the fields with a restaurant downstairs. “It's about being cheeky and childish with everything, making people happy and tapping into imagination and dreams,” Tony said of his creative inspiration.

He puts his passion for moving around down to first and foremost, the weather. “I'm not a fan of winter and the idea of travelling with the installation was born, I'm obsessed by nomadism and the ways of the gypsy. Initially we visited Santiago in Chile where we built a crazy set in the mountain serving the food via pullys through the trees. It went so well and being just over the road from Argentina we set off to Buenos Aires where we set up in an abandoned old mansion in San Telmo.”

Whether you think this man is plain nuts or a creative genius, he definitely commands respect for his pure ambition and drive alone. After Glastonbury they headed for Berlin to build a tree house with materials they scavenged from the streets, a place where he lived for eight weeks. “Often wet but very happy,” Tony optimistically remarks. As ever he's thinking ahead to his next challenge, the next one being travelling from Chile to London via the Americas, Russia, Europe and North Africa where he plans to build a house in 24 major cities with each location, like Berlin, being made from materials collected from the surrounding urban environment.

If this has made you curious, you'll probably have to wait until the end of this year to visit Tony's Hackney home off of Kingsland Road. Or you can go and find him somewhere out there overseas in a tree, a mountain, a castle, just don't expect to find him easily.


Take a look at Tony's Love Hotel at Glastonbury, pictures by Manuel Vazquez.

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Joshua Learner shared this on Facebook on January 6th 2012.
Joshua Learner shared this on Facebook on January 9th 2012.
Captain PocJanuary 9th 2012.

What's the food like?

Joshua LearnerJanuary 9th 2012.

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to dine but you can read a review here: http://archive.run-riot.com/KatieEatsTony

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