The Dinner Party Project: Dining with Strangers

My parents always told me to be wary of my surroundings and to never, ever speak to strangers.

But I’m almost a quarter of a century old and I do what I want!

Looking to spice up our weeknight routine, I signed my husband and I up for the Dinner Party Project (to eat dinner with absolute strangers!) after seeing one of our friends post about it on Instagram.

The project’s founder, Dana Marie Roquemore, had been known to say that she would love to host dinner parties for a living. So it all began with her hosting eight random guests at her home and once those friends told their friends about it, more and more people began signing up to participate. A movement was born!

How it works:

  • Visit the TDPP website and sign up. Once your name is in the database, it works similar to a lottery system meaning your name will always be picked at random.
  • If you want someone to go with you, they need to sign up themselves.
  • Wait until you get an email, letting you know that you made the cut. On this email you’ll be able to see the upcoming dinners on a calendar and can pick the one that works best with your schedule.
  • Once you register, you’ll be prompted to pay between $50-$90 for the experience. This money goes toward the chef preparing the meal, the host and/or venue.
  • Have fun!
  • Following the dinner, you’ll receive an email asking for feedback, reviews and a link to add gratuity.
  • Make sure to check TDPP’s Instagram and Facebook to see your group picture.
  • You will get a second post-event email with the names and emails of those who attended the dinner with you, should you decide to stay in contact with them.

Here’s how it went down:

Halston and I arrived at our host’s home in Baldwin Park and cautiously approached the door.

Most of the dinner guests were already inside. Thankfully, Chef Mike Garcia had already whipped up some cocktails which gave us something to focus on (and helped break the ice) as we all sat on the couch and started talking about what we do for a living. Side note: It is totally hilarious that little kids, with their limited vocabulary and mutual love for fire trucks can begin lifelong friendships and here we are, all adults in our 20s and 30s, perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation but struggling to figure out what to say to each other.

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Here’s a story, of a lovely lady…

Once introductions were done, we sat around the dinner table as Garcia went over the menu of chilled zucchini soup, seared chicken breast with carrots, pole beans, citrus gremolata and  vanilla coconut panna cotta citrus. Everything was delicious (and the veggies were from Bramble Tree Estate #supportlocal #shoplocal)!

 

 

Our host steered the conversation by asking us questions to spark dialogue. Some of her questions included, “What would your perfect Central Florida day include?,” When did you feel the most brave?” and “When was the last time you felt truly loved?”

After a couple of hours chatting and realizing we had a lot more in common than we initially thought (even common friends!), we parted ways and our magical evening ended.

Would I do it again? Certainly. It got me out of the house in a situation I wouldn’t normally put myself in. Also, the fact that I attached a dollar value to this was an incentive, as I was trying to make the most of the project rather than fading to the background and wasting the opportunity. I definitely recommend this to get you out of your comfort zone and routine! I brought my husband along because I don’t usually do well in these types of situations but had I arrived alone I would’ve survived and had just as good of a time.

Would you eat dinner with strangers? When was the last time you felt truly loved?

xx

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