Dining alone can seem a bit daunting for some, but DinnerPartyYVR hobby chef, Shannon Boudreau, has seen first-hand what a special experience it can be. Shannon hosted 12 people at her home last year, and she was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of her guests showed up without a date. “I think the youngest person was 20, and the oldest in their 60s. It was a very beautiful thing to see—everyone was coming together from different lifestyles and backgrounds but with food in common, bonding over the meal. That was really cool,” she says. “I think people feel like it’s going to the movies alone. When they go to a restaurant, they have to sit alone at a table. But at DinnerPartyYVR, you can go by yourself and sit with four, eight, 10 people. I think it’s great, especially in Vancouver, where you can bump into the same person at Starbucks for three weeks in a row and not say hi to each other. This is such a great tool for the city to have.”
To prepare for her dinner, Shannon joined other DinnerPartyYVR hobby chefs on a special tour of Whole Foods. “I work in catering, and I wasn’t even aware of some of the products they have, like some weird fruits and vegetables, fish I hadn’t heard of, and some unique cheeses, too,” she says. “I also didn’t know, for example, that you could go in and sample things—that’s really great for home chefs to know. They’ll give you 100 grams of something you’ve never cooked before if you want to try it, which is awesome.”
Shannon’s passion for food means she’s cooking for Growing Chefs!, where she currently volunteers her time. “At Growing Chefs! we go into the classroom every two weeks and teach kids how to grow vegetables and how to cook with them,” she explains. “A lot of these are inner city kids who don’t know a lot about produce because their parents shop the middle of the grocery store. To introduce their families to income-friendly healthy meals is really awesome.” (Learn more and be inspired by Growing Chefs!, here!)
This year, Shannon has upped her game: she’ll be cooking for 20. This means that, instead of crowding into her home, guests will convene at the Lazy Gourmet, where Shannon works as the director of sales and events. Her Italian fusion menu will be served alla famiglia right in the kitchen. “Guests will be in the middle of the action—they’ll be able to see myself and my sous chef make mistakes and make magic,” she says.
DinnerPartyYVR presented by Cressey has raised over $30,000 for local charities. Tickets are available at DinnerPartyYVR.