Dîner en Blanc is the pièce de résistance of picnics. This French-inspired dinner party takes place all around the world, but came to New York 8 years ago. For one evening, this alfresco, all-white event with gorgeous table settings, over-the-top homemade and premade picnic baskets is the most coveted ticket in the big apple.This year on Monday, September 17 an estimated 6,500 people will be in attendance.
The secret location is only revealed at the very last-minute and you must register your party and secure tickets in advance to join this exclusive club. In order to enjoy the dinner, you must arrive with a square folding-table (the size must be 32×28 inches), two white chairs, a white picnic basket or a white gourmet meal for two, a white tablecloth, cloth-napkins, cutlery, dishware, glassware and a garbage bag (preferably a white one). You can sign-up for a catered meal with beverages, but this must be pre-purchased on the e-store during the time of registration. You have 10 days to place an order before the event. Renowned chef and Michelin Star recipient Marc Forgione is curating this year’s picnic basket.
T2c talked to Linda Davis to learn a little bit more.
T2C: What Made You Create Diner en Blanc?
Linda Davis: I am one of the co-hosts for the New York event. Launched with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier nearly 30 years ago, Le Dîner en Blanc® de Paris now assembles over 10,000 guest every year, with a record 15,000 people attending the 25th anniversary in 2013. The French capital’s most prestigious sites have played host the event over the years: The Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Esplanade des Invalides, the periphery of the Place de l’Étoile, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Le Louvre Pyramid, Trocadéro Esplanade, and the Palais Royal Garden! New York started 8 years ag0. Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream…
T2C: What is you favorite part of this event?
Linda Davis: What I love about the event is it brings together a complete community. It is the very best of what this city represents. It is a world wide event, but to see New York residents coming together to celebrate good food wine, communication, while getting to know your neighbors, without a political agenda is special.
T2C: In this political climate there is no talking about politics?
Linda Davis: It is an interesting phenomenon, people they bring their wine, there is just a civility that comes out of you. You are not there to argue. You really are coming be part of something beautiful. You come to a public setting, a spectacular environment, where everything is white snd guest don’t have an agenda. There is no strife, just a beautiful evening of sharing.
T2C: I’ve heard it’s extremely hard to get tickets and they sell way in advance.
Linda Davis: Participation for the event occurs in three stages. Phase I is registration for members who attended the previous year. if you have attended you automatically are offered a ticket. Phase II registration is for new members who are referred by Phase I attendees; and Phase III is for the folks who want to sign up to be put on the waiting list. You can sign up at any given point. It’s kind of like a lottery.
T2C: Can you talk about the food?
Linda Davis: Our guest have two options you can bring your own food, or buy from take out or you can buy from four different baskets Iron this year from Chef Marc Forgione. Champagne and wine will be served. Guests bring glass wear, candelabras and one year a carousel.
T2C: How do you pick your sites?
Linda Davis: They are chosen based on capacity, location, environment, ambiance, we are creating an open space, we paint the picture of what the evening is going to be. Our theme is a French pop-up picnic un blanc. The music is a French band and we have a DJ.
The event’s purpose of coming together is so magical for our community. It has a gentle decor to it of beauty. Our guests reconnect year after year. We are the conduit of bringing people together and look forward to many more events.
Look for our coverage of this event and our interview with Chef Marc Forgione.