Everyone arrives at the same time, hangs out in the kitchen, then lingers for hours over a fabulous meal. But this isn’t a dinner party: it’s a restaurant. Here, a look at the trend.
Back when my kids were toddlers and my wife was always tired and we were flat broke, I threw multicourse dinner parties many nights a week. I have no idea why that seemed like a sensible use of limited family resources, but I do know that I liked pretending I was a Michelin-starred chef. I bought big white plates to dramatize my food, and I asked my friends to chip in money for luxury ingredients like foie gras and truffles. Then came the night I had 24 guests, each of them contributing $40, and somebody asked me the obvious question: “Shouldn’t you just open a restaurant?”
My answer was no, because even great restaurants felt impersonal and transactional compared to a good dinner party. At dinner parties, everybody arrives at the same time, has a drink with the cook in the kitchen, then settles around a single table. They eat the same dishes at the same time and linger for hours. There’s no bill to pay when it’s all over, so they can say good night without breaking the spell.