|Photo Courtesty of Social Bites|
I recently met Annika from Social Bites back in October as a group of us had dinner to participate in the Candlelight Conservation Dinner. We all chatted about our love of food, our plans for the holidays and our side projects that sometimes drive us crazy or keep us sane.
A Social Bites excursion is not just a dinner party. With the latest Social Bites event coming up on December 10th, 2011 in the Bohemian-like neighbourhood of Commercial Drive, I thought it would be the perfect time to sit down with Annika to learn more about her project and her love of food.
1) What is Social Bites?
|Photo Courtesy of Foodist|
I like to call it my foodie friend machine. Social Bites is a project of mine that provides an opportunity to bring people together who are passionate about food and meeting new people. From a diner's perspective, you choose two hobby chefs you would like to visit with a dining partner. The dinner event starts at 6 pm and you sit down with another pair of dinner guests. You’re there for about an hour and then the chef has to kick you out and get ready to invite the next guests who will arrive in 30 minutes.
2) Tell me about how your love of food started?
Raised in Germany, I’m used to large home cooked meals and it’s the family style foods that resonates with me. I grew up in a butcher family so meat is a big thing, especially pork. Mom made solid meals, nothing fancy but that stuck with me. I’m a big venison fan and rabbit. It reminds me of holidays and Christmas.
3) How did Social Bites get started?
The concept of dinner excursions has been in Europe for a long time. I’ve been to many in Berlin and other cities and I wanted to bring that to Vancouver.
4) Tell me about the hobby chefs? What can we expect from them?
Generally there are 4 chefs. I ask them to make one dish or sampler of dishes that they love that have memories or things that they want to try out or represents who they are. I don’t assign a theme. It’s about the cook and what they want to showcase.
One hobby chef has a Moroccan theme. Another is just a surprise. One hobby chef was given some elk from a friend who is also a local butcher. Commercial drive has an alternative culture and one chef lives with 6 other people and they have a community garden and farm. He will be talking about the urban farm and energy efficiency and, using the ingredients from their farm, will be making an open flame stoned soup.
5) Why did you choose the area?
The areas are chosen where the hobby chefs are. When we pick the community we want people to explore the area between dinners. When dinner is finished all of us, the guests and hobby chefs, head to the hot spot. In the past we’ve had it at an art gallery, a chocolate store, café, and at boutiques. This time it is at Riot.
The hot spot is where we all have dessert compliments of our dessert partners. This time we will be doing some cupcake tastings by Dolce Delights. The hot spot is also where we vote on the favourite dish. All the dinner guests cast their vote based on taste presentation and hospitability. It’s out of ten; everybody does it on their own. The winner will receive a gift certificate to Divino restaurant on Commercial Drive. We also have gifts for the hobby chefs from Gypsy Jams and Liquid and Solids who makes an amazing BBQ sauce that is hemp based. The other thing that we’re doing different is that each hobby chef will get a kick-start as all received gift certificates from Donald’s Market. Our partners are great – Ethical Deals has always been very supportive and have been awesome over the years.
|Photo Courtesy of Greedy Guts|
6) How have Social Bites and the excursions changed over the years?
When I started, I wanted to do this at people’s home rather than in restaurants (which is the
norm) and people said that it wouldn’t work on planet earth. So I tried to do it with restaurants. But I remembered I went to a fundraiser at someone’s house and they did an outdoor feast and the whole experience was what I wanted for Social Bites. So I went back to the original concept. In the beginning I had ambitions of making it bigger but I stepped away because it’s not about that. It's not my business, it’s my project.
7) What is your definition of Foodie?
|Photo Courtesy of Foodist|
That’s a good question. See for me it doesn’t have anything to do with whom you are or know, how many restaurants you have been to, or being able to identify the ingredients. Anyone can be a Foodie. If you like to dine with family and friends, enjoy a good meal, enjoy the work that’s been put into the dishes, appreciate the ingredients, and the overall dining experience, I think that’s what makes you a Foodie.
8) What are some memorable moments with Social Bites?
It’s amazing the relationships that come out of them. This guy brought someone he just started dating and he thought it would be good to see how she acts in a social setting. Soon after, they participated as hobby chefs and a couple of months later they got married. I like to think that I had something to do with that!
9) So can followers of social bites anticipate in the New Year?
The next Social Bites dinner excursion will be in Gastown, which is a hot bed for foodies. I already have one interested hobby chef so I’ll be looking out for more participants!
To learn more about Social Bites, or if you want to participate as a dinner guest or even a hobby chef at one of the dinner excursions pleas check out the Social Bites site:
Social Bites: http://socialbites.ca
Watch how Social Bites works:
You may also be interested in: