Diner En Blanc Toronto 2011

Posted on September 28, 2011

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This past year has such an eye-opener to me of how little I knew Toronto before. Each new thing I discover, I am amazed I lived in Toronto all this time and never knew how many events happen on the underground. I happen to come across the event Diner En Blanc on Facebook by following Suresh Doss. This event is an elegant pop-up dinner, complete with dinnerware, cutlery, flowers and candles for ambiance, all invitees dressed all in white in an undisclosed place. All participants were notified of the secret location hours ahead and little notice was given to the public. I could not resist the idea of participating. The foodie in me loved the element of surprise. Around noon time yesterday I received a text about the location and it does give you some bit of glee, as if like a kid with a whole stash of candies, to be in-the-know.

Prepping for a dinner like Diner En Blanc does need menu planning and a lot of wrapping to protect fragile glassware and dishes. I do have a method to all these madness as I have traveled before with glassware for creative food shoots I sometimes do in another studio. For my menu I was particular to bring food that would be just as good served cold. I went with orzo pasta tossed with sautéed vegetables, feta cheese and drizzled with lemon, chicken salad on dark rye, and basil pesto tuna with apple slivers on sourdough bread. And of course, I did not forget to bring dessert! I thought caramel popcorn was perfect for the occasion, packaging it in a white Chinese takeout box for effect.

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We arrived the Distillery District around 6pm and I was lucky enough to secure a parking spot where I can sit comfortably as I waited for the event to start. I started to see people in white trickling in and I also saw people with curious looks on what is going on. While securing a parking ticket, a guy approached me asking if it were a wedding event. I smiled and said no.

The pre-arranged time finally arrived and about 400 people all dressed in white all came. At first I was a bit worried that I went too far with the items I brought with me, but seeing the other tables ladled with huge vases and ornate serving trays, I knew I was keeping good company. We luckily chose a table beside five very fashionable women who had intricate elegant headpieces made specifically for the night. It’s quite a showstopper as I see a lot of photographers and participants alike stopped to comment on their headpieces or say hello. They were so gracious too, sharing their fennel, orange, olive salad and chicken cordon bleu. That fennel salad made such an impression on me, I might have to do that myself soon!

I sat there for a moment and I get that swift amazement once again. Toronto has given away its secrets to me all year. Here’s hoping I come across some more ;)