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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