Are you part of a Gourmet Dinner Club or would you like to be? This is the perfect idea for people living gluten free with or without additional dietary restrictions. It kind of forces you to be adventurous and if you agree that you’ll serve the dish you make, no matter what happens, then there’s no pressure.
The beauty of your own Dinner Club is that you’ve accommodated all the dietary needs plus you’re cooking and eating with like-minded friends.
What are you curious about cooking?
Cuisines from countries you’ve never visited or pairing the perfect wine with each dish? Maybe you want to cook with uncommon ingredients or make the restaurant specialties you miss or have never been able to try.
No matter what excites you, starting your own Dinner Club can be fun.
What is a Gourmet Dinner Club
The word gourmet sounds a bit dated but to me a Gourmet Dinner Club is about going ‘all out’ for dinner. Whether you’re creating an amazing table to go with your theme or planning a multi-course meal with challenging recipes it can be whatever excites you.
It’s all about stretching your culinary skills. It’s about adventure. Most importantly, it’s about getting together around food.
The term ‘gourmet’ means different things to different people so don’t let that intimidate you. Redefine what you think the word means and get creative.
Themes for Gourmet Dinner Club
- Set the table with newspaper and host an East Coast Lobster Fest.
- Compare three gluten free batter recipes for a Fish and Chip Tasting. You might as well perfect the technique for making hand cut French fries too.
- Host a multi-course meal including wines paired with each course.
- Gluten Free Charcuterie like you’ve only dreamed of!
- Have a homemade Fast Food dinner using the freshest ingredients available and make all the trimmings. Mac and Cheese, Taco Night or Amusement Park food just to name a few.
- Plan the gluten free Turkey Dinner of your dreams at a different time of year; Christmas in July, Canadian Thanksgiving in October or American Thanksgiving in November.
There is no end to the possibilities.
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Dinner Club Format Ideas
To start a Dinner Club simply find some like-minded people and set a date for dinner. You will undoubtedly revise and modify your criteria and guest list so there is no need to over plan. Here are a few things we’ve tried with my long-standing ladies Gourmet Dinner Club.
- The host chooses the theme. Start with a country or a type of cuisine.
- Try a menu inspired by a favourite chef or with a seasonal theme.
- Consider planning a meal from a cookbook. One book and it’s done! Cookbooks are readily available to purchase and the library is full of them too.
- Or have the host create the menu, cook the main course and provide the wine. Then distribute the list of the remaining courses (appetizer, vegetable & side dish, dessert) and let others choose their recipe. Send out one email and the first to respond gets to choose the dish they want.
- Don’t take it beyond fun. Store bought items may be acceptable, you make the rules.
This naturally lends itself to a weekend event and can be as elaborate as you like. If four couples meet every other month you only host Gourmet Dinner Club once every eight months. I think this format makes the effort of planning the menu and table setting sound much less daunting.
You set the rules. It can be a group effort every time or a big job for the hosting couple. Design it to include what you think is worth the effort. Surely it will evolve over time.
If you’re single or your partner isn’t interested, start a singles Dinner Club. My long-standing Ladies Gourmet Dinner Club most often meets on a weeknight. We take turns planning the menu and loosely follow the guidelines listed above.
On weeknights we drink a little less, end a little early and we all absolutely love it! Some years, for a very special occasion, we invite the last husbands standing.
Do I Need To Be a Foodie to Start a Dinner Club
No, you do not need to be a foodie to start a Dinner Club. It’s about adventure so start with anything that sounds adventurous to you.
Don’t know anyone who’s interested? Use social media (like a local Facebook group) to find like-minded people in your community.
Become a Gluten Free Foodie
Admittedly I am a foodie. Foodies have elaborate dinners for fun. Foodies talk about food, share photos of food, cook, follow food trends, search out hard to find ingredients and pay enormous sums of money for what they want.
My Gourmet Dinner Club has a lot of stories with huge successes and hilarious food failures. They all include a lot of laughs and memorable moments.
Rule #1: Have Fun!
You set the rules for your Dinner Club and you decide who gets invited and who gets voted off the island. Be flexible, try different things and have fun.
I can’t wait to hear your stories and see photos. Whether you flambéing saganaki, piping profiteroles or grinding curry paste from scratch be sure to focus on fun in the kitchen.
I’d love to hear in the comments below if you’ve got a Dinner Club or if you’re officially ready to start one.
Originally posted 2015, updated August 2022.