Starting Your Own Gourmet Dinner Club

Food at outdoor dinner party in countryside

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Foodie is a new term deemed to those who love all things food and tend to take to their phones to post their images to social media. Long before "foodies" people had affinities for all flavors of the world. Visiting restaurants or cooking at home are fun ways to try different kinds of cooking. Another option could be inviting a group that you know will be a good time over for some memories and fun with food. These groups often call it their Gourmet Club; others settle for simply a Dinner Club. Whatever these circles are called, they're all about groups of friends who share a passion for food – both cooking it and eating it.

Hosting a Successful Dinner Club

Typically the club meets every four to six weeks and shares a special meal. Every month is a great timeline for a cooking club but if you live in close vicinity to your group every week is an exciting crash course to new styles of food as well.

Avoid what you know and get a little curious with your meals, this isn't your standard potluck. Some groups use these clubs to be adventurous and experiment with new cuisines or gourmet ingredients, unlike the recipes you would find at a typical potluck supper. Themes are a good place to start. Apples are a great starting place to celebrate the arrival of autumn or a party at the beach to welcome summer. Use your imagination and let your tastes buds freely wander the food landscape. Experiment with flavors from India, China, Mexico, and France.

In some cases, the group, in the home of one of the members, cooks the entire meal. Other clubs ask members to bring the dishes pre-cooked, which makes for a speedier evening. In that case, the host is usually responsible for the main course. In some clubs, the host of the month plans the meals, in others, the group gets together to plan it. The typical size of these groups ranges from 8 to 12 members.

Tips and Tricks

  • Decide the overall club objective. Is it simply camaraderie? Are you looking for a gourmet experience?
  • Invite friends who share similar food interests and skill levels to join the club. You don't want novices to be intimidated by professional chefs in the group.
  • Determine a set schedule for the club in advance, such as the second Saturday of every month.
  • Decide how the menus will be planned and where the food will be cooked.
  • Establish how many courses will be served, and how they will rotate among members.
  • Discuss whether a budget is a consideration and if so, what it will be.
  • Agree on whether alcoholic beverages will be on the menu, and if yes, whether everyone will contribute alcohol to each meal or take turns.
  • Meet every six months to determine whether the group is happy with how things are proceeding and whether any changes need to be made.