Dinner Club Ideas
I have recently started up a dinner club in my area (Newport, RI). Any ideas for themes? I think this will be a great way to meet new people and try new recipes...
Here's what a friend and I are doing. We are having "Dinner At My House" where there are the two of us plus spouses and we each invite a different couple each time we get together. We are thinking of 4 times a year and can throw in some extra events if we want. We are going to have the guests participate in the cooking. Our first theme is French Country and I'm doing a cassoulet. (We are going to France in March). It will be fun to have different couples each time.
One thing is if you are wine drinkers set a bottle theme (Bordeaux, CA Chards, sake, whatever) and have everyone bring a different bottle. Then have folks try a ton of different wines through dinner.
We've been in a dinner group for over six years. We've run the whole gamut of themes:
Every ethnic cuisine you can think of
Seasonal menus - Fall, Winter, Spring and Fall
Interactive menus - like a ravioli making party and a pizza making party
Murder Mystery parties - we did a luau one outdoors that was great fun
Menus planned around a game night - we all got together and played Cranium while enjoying a casual dinner
Menus planned around a movie - we had good fun planning an italian menu and watching Big Night
Menus planned around a holiday - Christmas, St Pats, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras
A dessert party
Recently we did a 50s TV character dinner - everyone came dressed as a character and we made upscale dinners complete with the foil trays.
Waffle party for a holiday brunch
Pool parties with exotic burgers
We have non-drinkers in our crowd so alcohol themed don't work well for us. We did do an exotic soda tasting once that was fun.
We've had good fun in our group. We were all strangers when we started but have become good friends. Have fun!
I've heard a lot about these dinner clubs and am interested in joining one. How do you go about finding one?
I had a gourmet dinner group for several years. In our group, there were three couples, and each one hosted a dinner once a month, so each hosted dinner 4 times a year. The couple hosting picked the menu, purchased the food ingredients, and got to invite a fourth couple. The other two couples in the group brought the wine, per the host's specification. The girls in the group would go over to the host's house the day of the dinner to help with food preparation.
We got our inspiration for the menus from various places. Sometimes, the menu was seasonal and sometimes we'd do the menu featured in that month's Gourmet Magazine. Sometimes it was ethnic -- we did Japanese, Asian-Fusion, Moroccan, French, Italian. Sometimes it was something culled from a favorite cookbook -- we did a great dinner from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook.
It was a lot of fun -- and, actually the only reason we stopped was because one of the couples had a baby and the other divorced :-P
This almost exactly how our Supper Club works. We rotate between homes and the host decides what to make. The rest of the participants are not allowed to bring anything. We've also weathered a divorce and a new baby, but made it through fine. We've given the new parents a break from rotation for a while and they're ready to jump back in now.