Monday, March 10, 2008

The Worry-Free Dinners™ Concept

What’s the story behind the Worry-Free Dinners concept?

I know you want to know.

I’m going to be very honest with you.

I have “food rave” envy.

I do.

I’ve written about it at least once on my Allergic Girl blog. However it wouldn’t take too close a reading of my other posts and oft-written audible sighs to feel my foodie rave pain.

I hear about events like 4Foodies, the Greens events at the Beard House, the Ghetto Gourmet, even the Supper Club (although snooty and uber-trendy is not my style per se) and the adventurer in me wants to go, go go!

I want that prix fixe dinner, where delicious course after sumptuous course shows up, prepared beautifully and with care. I suppose I could go. I could pay $100 or $150 for a dinner, call the management ahead of time, tell them everything that I can’t eat, show up and have the burger (see the Waldorf, which again was incredibly careful and gracious with my meal. Thank you again, Waldorf). But really, a bun-less burger, a pat on the back and a shrug by management is not really what I want.

The reality is: I have food allergies. Supper clubs, foodie groups, secret food party groups are just not for me.

So that's one thought I’d been having.

Then there was another thought.

I receive so many kind and supportive emails from people about my blog (thank you all again, by the way!) asking: “How do you do it?” or “Are you always so upbeat?” or “What’s your secret?” or, very often, “Where can I go to eat like you do?”

I’m a naturally community-minded person. I love sharing resources, making connections between people and groups and resources. I’m a people person, which is why I went into psychotherapeutic social work. It was also the inspiration for my original blog, to share resources with others like me who wanted to eat out and eat safely.

It was at an allergen-free brunch at Five Points in November with a family friend who said, “Why not combine the three? Your relationships with restaurants, your ability to eat allergen-free AND your ability to impart that knowledge to inspire others and to connect people and resources. It’s a natural match!"

Thus, “Worry-Free Dinners” was born. At a brunch of all things.

I haven’t seen anything like this out there. It's an idea we cooked up and now we are going live.

From the initial positive responses and the flurry of requests for applications it seems there are a lot of you like me who want to dine out with fewer worries and be with people without the “eye-roll”. I’m so excited to create that safe space where we can share a meal, have fun and also talk about our food concerns, discuss our fears about handling these very serious food-related issues and explore some real solutions about how to move forward living happy, healthy, well-adjusted lives.

That is the Worry-Free Dinners story in a nut-shell. Pardon my obvious pun.

I’m looking forward to this journey together!

Happy eating!

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