Andrea Adelstein hopes to revive the lost art of the dinner party by reminding us to keep it simple.
To all appearances, the dinner party exists mainly within the pages of magazines. Yes, there are block parties, progressive parties, underground restaurants, dinner with six strangers, etc. But what about those incredibly elegant, utterly everyday affairs we vaguely recall our parents talking about?
Andrea Adelstein remembers. The Tenafly NJ native looks back to her childhood and sees the candlelit, laughter-filled evenings when her parents invited guests over for dinner. Through her company NY Lux Events, Adelstein attempts to recreate the relaxed glamour of intimate dinner parties for small groups and large throngs. Recently she was asked to consult on an event honoring Hillary Rodham Clinton; they do weddings, bat mitzvahs, life celebrations and all other special occasions where food is a must.
We asked Adelstein a few questions about why dinner parties have fallen out of favor, and perhaps any hope for a renaissance.
Toque: Why have you felt called to bring back the dinner party?
Adelstein: Over social media, I see more and more people sharing photos of their food, swapping recipes and blogging about their dining experiences. Everyone is excited about food. Yet people do this from a distance, over the Internet. I believe it is time to reconnect in a more intimate and personal way. Time to bring people back into our homes.
First there was Twitter. Then there was Yelp, and Foursquare. Then came Foodspotting. And Instagram. Social and check-in apps gave us entertainment, and power. We looked for interesting restaurants, showed off the awesome dish we just ate and left a scathing review when our service took too long.
Bub City uses Earshot to listen–not only to who is talking about them but who is nearby and ready for a beer and BBQ. (Photo courtesy Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises)
For many years, the dance of engagement has been skewed towards consumers rather than the dining establishments. Now with Earshot, the intersection between consumers, food and direct marketing just got more interesting. Or at least, more targeted. Customers “within earshot” of a restaurant are identified through any number of social media and geo-tagging channels in real time–the digital equivalent of (or perhaps superior to) outdoor “hosts” urging tourists to come in and order the special.
Earshot, in a nutshell, is a filtering technology that lets restaurants not only see exactly which people are “talking” about them or seeking food that tastes like theirs; it also lets restaurants send greetings and invitations to those people, through the social media channel they use most.
It’s been awhile since our last job roundup! The outlook seems brighter somehow. Here are a few interesting opps we rounded up this week:
Tiverton RI executive chef at Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar.
Executive Chef Chris Windus is looking for “confident people, seasoned, with chops to keep up” at Todd English’s bluezoo.
Dinner Lab, a unique site pairing chefs with consumers with interesting dining venues, is looking for talented chefs de partie in Austin, Texas. The hourly isn’t the highest in the world but as they say, it’s a good place to test your chops and only one year of experience required.