Quote of the Concept
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973)
Our organizational structure emerged into a plan that has produced fun nights, no conflict and a collaborative and genial club. We offer it a sample of what can work.
Hosts: The hosts decide the country and region theme and announce their choice during the dinner. We are always as excited as children during the holidays to learn what new culture we will be exploring.
What: Each couple brings either the:
hosts and provide the main courses.
Whoever hosted last brings the beverages for a break from cooking.
Dates: We meet on Saturday evening and are very flexible with dates always rescheduling if anyone can not make it. We try to pick a new date after dessert but often end up emailing choices to each other and then rescheduling as needed.
Rotation: We rotate homes in the same order.
Dishes: Hosts provide beverage glasses; appetizer and dessert dishes are negotiated and shared.
Clean up: Appetizer and dessert providers pack their dishes to take home to clean. For us it works better to eat, drink, talk and laugh and deal with clean up later.
Also given the hosting rotation you only have a big clean up once every five dinners!
Eating Out as a Dinner Club: In six years the wisdom of the plan has held and we’ve only made one change. After two years of cooking we decided between each rotation of four dinners to go out. We take turns finding an entrepreneurial restaurant that offers both a new cuisine and location experience. We order wine, appetizers, desserts as family, and our own entrée. Our bill is evenly divided.
Final Thoughts on a Successful Dinner Club: We've never had problems or conflicts within our club. We never talked about areas that can cause problems such as budgets, expectations of cooking etc. because we were novices and didn't know to do so. Our success is a small measure of luck and a large measure of flexible and collaborative behavior. Tips from the experts on setting up a cooking Gourmet Dinner Club are a good place to start to ensure a successful club but the best tip we can give is find people who like to cook as much as they like to eat, love to laugh and enjoy encouraging and supporting other.