My First Pop Up Dinner Party

5 06 2014

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It started as a casual conversation about friends getting together for a wine tasting and turned into a pop up dinner party with visions of it becoming a reality show in a spa setting. My friend Alicia Allain, owner of Ma Maison of Beaute likes big ideas and I really admire that she makes them happen. (Click here to see the video my sweetie created for her zen-like salon). As her pop up dinner party idea grew Alicia gathered a team to make a magical evening happen.

The first on the team was Myrna Arroyo. She’s a marketer and a sommelier who also leads wine trips around the world. I became an instant BFF with her—wine, marketing and traveling—I want to do that! The right chef soon joined the team and made a perfect match with an interesting take on the experience. Chef Jimmy Le is also a high school teacher in a unique program that teaches culinary arts to teens. Chef Jimmy decided what better way to have his students graduate from his program then to have them work in a real life experience of cooking, prepping and plating. The menu evolved into a fusion of Spanish and local cuisine called “A Night in Spain through Louisiana.”

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My sweetie and I joined the team as cinematographer and art director (mostly I tried not to get in front of Steve when he was shooting). A lighting expert and a director soon added their expertise to the event, as well as friends with restaurant experience. Artists were invited to showcase their work and to create art as the evening progressed.

Back stage

Back stage

Invites were sent out and a gathering of forty friends arrived on a rare Louisiana Summer evening that actually had a chill in the air. The stage was set, the tent was up, the tables were set, the wine was chilling, the cooks were prepping and the iced Sangria was waiting for the guests to arrive.

Chef Jimmy Le, Alicia Allain, who made the evening happen and Sommelier Myrna Arroyo.

Chef Jimmy Le, Alicia Allain, who made the evening happen and Sommelier Myrna Arroyo

As the evening settled in the sommelier explained the personality of each wine served and Chef shared his Spanish inspired menu full of the freshest Louisiana seafood and local ingredients. Five wines and five courses were served over several hours. I love wine pairing meals, it’s such a amazing chemistry when the right wine blends with a dish that makes both taste better. If you’ve never had this experience, add it to your bucket list.

My first pop up dinner party proved to be a delicious, fun and laughter-filled night under the stars. It is the beginning of a tradition that will grow and evolve and be as much about dreams and passion as it is about food and wine. We’ll have another sometime this summer and if it turns into a reality show I’ll let you know. Cheers!

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10 responses

6 06 2014
Cathy

I am more than impressed with this. Forty friends? That’s amazing. I think I’m moving to where you live. It sounds awesome and right up my alley. Good for you, Connie.

6 06 2014
conniemcleod

I have to give credit to my friend Alicia. She’s the one who made it happen. But it would have been right up your alley-it was a fun night.

6 06 2014
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com

I agree with Cathy….this sounds like a wonderful evening. Wish I lived close and I would definitely ask for an invite!

6 06 2014
conniemcleod

Kathy, I wish you lived closer too. It was a delightful evening!

7 06 2014
dltolley

I. Am. Amazed. I couldn’t have pulled this together if I’d had forty days to plan! Wonderful!

8 06 2014
conniemcleod

I give full credit to my friend Alicia, She’s a great delegator and had the vision and pulled together a good team!

7 06 2014
Barbara

Glad I stopped by, because this is an awesome idea! We’re in the process of moving, but when we get settled I would love to pull something like this off. We have a few chef friends who would love the idea, too.
Thanks!
b

8 06 2014
conniemcleod

Barbara, let me know if you do it!

8 06 2014
Lisa Garon Froman

Connie, what an awesome event. I’m gonna have to have more details next time we get together. The photos are gorgeous…and the outdoor lighting magical. Talk about a creative journey, my friend!

8 06 2014
conniemcleod

Lisa, You probably knew the same people that I knew there. I’ll let you know when there’s another one. It was really beautiful.

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