Imagine a flash mob of 3,000 people, add food and drink and you'd have something very similar to Diner en Blanc. Last Saturday night, Bondi locals watched thousands of people suddenly descend on Bondi Beach, unpack chairs and tables and then dine on a three course meal as waves crashed upon the beach.
This is the second year that Diner en Blanc has taken place in Sydney but it first started in Paris 25 years ago. Diner en Blanc - meaning "the white dinner" - was conceived by Francois Pasquier who, in 1988, assembled a small group of friends. They each wore white so they could easily find each other in Bois de Boulogne, a large public park in Paris.
Today there are 15,000 people who assemble for the annual Paris Diner en Blanc. They have dined beneath the Eiffel Tower, on the Champs-Élysées, at Place de la Concorde and on the grounds of the Château de Versailles.
The event is now held around the world in cities that include New York, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Barcelona, London, Moscow and Auckland. In Australia, it has taken place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.
I was invited to attend Diner en Blanc as a guest of Electrolux Australia, one of the sponsors for Diner en Blanc. We started the evening with a car pick-up to its pop-up kitchen in Centennial Park for a brief cooking demonstration by brand ambassador Tetsuya Wakuda.
Tetsuya Wakuda explaining how to cook ocean trout
Tetsuya is softly spoken and gentle but has a wicked sense of humour. He showed us the secret to scrambled eggs (cream and creamed corn over low heat with fresh ricotta folded in at the very end) as well as how to cook ocean trout (seal in clingfilm and baked at 65C) and steak (sear at high heat and then finish in the oven at 120C).
Instant lemon juice spray using a gadget spritzer
He also revealed that he's a huge fan of gadgets. I think everyone wanted this instant lemon spritzer. You simply pierce a fresh lemon with this gadget to enable instant lemon juice spray!
Tetsuya Wakuda slicing the beef
We left the pop-kitchen by coach for the secret location. There are a couple of rules that govern Diner en Blanc:
- The location remains secret until the last minute. Guests assemble at meeting points where provided transport delivers you to the secret location.
- Guests must dress in white.
- Guests must bring their own table, chairs, tablecloth, napkins and food. All decorations must be white. All food should be eaten from proper crockery and cutlery. At the Sydney event, dinner hampers could be pre-purchased.
The event has been designed to be spontaneous, sophisticated and elegant yet fun. We were lucky that we had our furniture and food already provided but there seemed to be a sense of energetic enthusiasm by others who had to carry everything on their own.
The event itself is marked by the traditional waving of napkins when everyone has been assembled and dinner is ready to start. This also signifies that the public space has been successfully "claimed" for the evening.
Towards the end of the night, everyone is provided with sparklers to light as night falls. It's a spectacular end to a memorable evening. Here are my pics from the night.
Diner en Blanc Sydney 2013
Grab Your Fork attended Diner en Blanc as a guest of event sponsor, Electrolux Australia.
Diner en Blanc Sydney
Diner en Blanc International
39 comments - Add some comment love
12/01/2013 06:05:00 pm