The secret is out! (And no, we don’t mean “that” secret.) DÎNER EN BLANC Philadelphia is a solidified hit! Months of buzz have led to an early sell out of registrations. What an impressive feat for an event with an undisclosed location. Now its time to hit the stores, test your recipes and countdown the days to this major cultural/foodie event that’s about to take Philadelphia by storm. As we take a break from the preparations, we sit down for a final interview with Natanya DiBona (Co-chair, DEB Philadelphia) about the prizes, clothes, table themes and other “fun in white.” Join us in our continued coverage!
NATANYA: I am attending my first Diner en Blanc in Montreal next week, so I will have to report back on what I see there. I have heard that attendees dress extravagantly and last year a woman attended wearing a wedding dress!
PLF: HAVE YOU EVER TRIED DOING A THEMED TABLE? OR SEEN AN INTERESTINGLY THEMED TABLE?
NATANYA: Ask any of my friends and they will tell you how much I love a theme! I’d say the most memorable “themed” table I’ve done was with the Young Friends of the Brandywine for the tailgate competition at the Radnor Hunt in 2011. The theme was The Great American Novel and we chose The Old Man and the Sea. In addition to authentic Cuban food, drinks and decor, we even had Ernest Hemingway there sitting at his typewriter sipping his favorite rum cocktail. My friend Brian would be upset if I didn’t also mention that we won the Blue Ribbon that year! J
PLF: MUST ONE COME DRESSED IN ELEGANT ATTIRE, OR IS CASUAL OKAY TOO?
NATANYA: The idea behind the event is that it be elegant. There are so few occasions to really dress up these days, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity. With that said, though, it doesn’t have to break the bank. A friend of mine has gotten her whole elegant outfit at thrift shops and vintage stores in the area and I’ve borrowed a piece or two from friends to put my look together. There are also SO many great end-of-summer sales going on right now on white clothes.
Also, we’ve partnered with Touché Accessories in the Court at King of Prussia and participants can bring a copy of their registration confirmation to receive 20% off their purchases between now and the event on August 23rd. They have a wonderful assortment of white gloves, purses, fascinators, hats, etc.
NATANYA: Yes! I am happy to announce that there will be several prizes for elegance that evening: Le Bec-Fin will be offering a dinner for two to the most elegantly dressed man and the Four Seasons Hotel will be awarding a gift certificate for the most elegantly dressed woman. Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue will be awarding a $500.00 shopping spree to the most elegant tablescape, so dust off your candelabras and serving pieces and bring them to Diner en Blanc! We will be featuring a profile of the judges in an upcoming blog post and they will reveal exactly what it is they will be looking for in the “competition” that night! J I think it will be a fun aspect of the evening.
PLF: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE EVENT?
NATANYA: Wow, I’m not sure if I can say one favorite thing! However, I am the most excited about the diversity of the people who are attending this event- people of all ages and backgrounds are coming together to enjoy a meal in a beautiful public space. We have attendees from Poland, France, Russia, and Great Britain (to name just a few) so it’s a reflection of Philadelphia as a truly international city as well as an amazing testament to this event.
PLF: HOW ELSE (BESIDES THE DJ) WILL THE AMBIANCE BE SET? LIGHTING, DANCING, DECORATIONS? DO TELL!
NATANYA: Well, the best ambiance will be set by the location itself. We picked a beautiful spot that reflects Philadelphia’s rich culture and history. We recently set-up a few tables there and it looked so beautiful…just imagining that same spot swathed in white and with 650 tables gives me chills!
There will also be an amazing gypsy jazz band called Hot Club Philly playing through dinner and then the dancing portion of the evening will be turned over to DJ Bruce. We worked with a great group, Mole Street Productions, who really understood the vibe that we were trying to achieve for the evening and provided us with great talent.
NATANYA: I think what might be unique about Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc is that it reflects the metropolitan feel of our city, but also the strong community that is achievable because we are a smaller city than New York, for instance. One of my favorite aspects of planning Diner en Blanc has been the profiles we’ve done on different Philadelphians who are involved in our event (http://dinerenblancphiladelphia.wordpress.com/). Their answers to why they love this city and what they love to see and do here make me very proud to live here and very happy that they have all chosen to be part of our event.
PLF: WHAT IS IN THE FUTURE FOR DEB? HOW WILL YEAR TWO BE DIFFERENT THAN THE KICKOFF YEAR?
NATANYA: Year two will certainly be larger. The idea behind Diner en Blanc is that it grows each year. Everyone who attends this year gets invited back next year with a guest. That is how, over the years, Montreal has grown to 9,000 and Paris to 15,000! My hope is that this becomes a tradition that becomes part of our city’s culture in the way it has in Paris, but there is something very special about this first year that I’m savoring.
Special thanks to Natanya for both of her exclusive, in-depth interviews. Thanks also to the Diner En Blanc Philadelphia Committee for tickets for our August contest. If you didn’t register, don’t forget to enter and win two slots. The deadline is coming on Monday, August 13, 2012. Good luck!
Disclaimer: No monetary compensation was provided for this post. Facebook, Twitter and Google are not affiliated with this giveaway.