Main_restaurant challenge

Did you know that we have the world’s best food community? You guys are amazing. We announced that we needed to fill a restaurant’s 40 seater private room and a few days later we were stood in front of a room full of people, helping the awesome staff at The Canal Club, Venice cook and serve a menu of great food. 

What we love about you guys is that everyone is friendly. We all have a shared love of food, and it really shows when we have meet ups and even more when we did this event. Everyone just sits down and are instantly chatting, laughing and making friends. 

We got chatting to loads of people throughout the evening and one of the best things was to be talking to a couple of people, thinking they’ve arrived together, only to find that they had just met a few minutes beforehand. This is AMAZING, and just what we keep banging on about when we talk about social cooking and eating. 

Now there was a point to this evening. It was a challenge. You guys voted for Jamie to host the night, Barry to wait tables and Mike to work on the bar (Ben was, of course in the kitchen).


Somehow the guys managed to get everyone seated. Everyone got drinks (eventually) and Mike kept them coming all night in between serving himself. Ben did annoyingly well in the kitchen. Barry served food and drink sometimes and people picked up his slack to make sure everyone had a great night. Overall we did alright :) 

And so to the judging! The guys tried really hard to make it the best evening ever, and it showed! We got everyone who came to vote for the boys individually, and then an overall decision was made…

We passed!! People even rated Barry’s service highly (well, most people!)


Afterwards we held a meet up to chat without the pressure of doing a great job… it was fantastic to meet you guys and even the police joined in… I think we were making a bit of a commotion on Venice Pier! We just want to say thank you to everyone who came. As well as a challenge this was a bit of an experiment… We’ve never done anything like it before and we would love to do more, and of course, cook for more of you! 

So now we have a question for you – How could we involve food more in meet ups? This took loads of organisation, but it was totally worth it! Are there any other ways we could get people together, chatting and making friends around food?  

  • Kat

    Well this might take a bit more organizing, but maybe you guys could host meet ups at food banks? Hannah Hart did something similar when she went on tour, and it was great. Even having people bring canned goods and donating them later could help out a lot of people. Something to look into.

  • Spencer Morran

    This may sound crazy hard to plan but potluck?

  • Keiko

    Perhaps you guys could do something like those cookie exchanges that often occur around the holidays (everyone brings their favorite batch to share), but you could change it up and have people bring a particular local dish? Like their favorite peach pie or chili or gumbo… something like that. Everyone will have their own family favorite recipes and even though a region may be known for a particular dish, you can try a bunch of different interpretations of it!

    • LE

      I really like that idea……I was thinking the same thing

  • Joseph Del Corpo

    You guys should tweet out a restaurant that you’ll be going to one night (obviously one that’s been recommended) and ask people in the neighbourhood if they want to join. Make a 10-15 person reservation and get back to some of the people who had interest to let them know the time. It’ll not only let you experience the new food, but experience it with new people every time.

    • Elin Johansson

      Great idea! Hope it becomes a reality. I don’t think you’ll have a hard time finding people who want to join…

  • Tim

    I think in a smaller community of SortedFoodies (is that our nickname? anyway…) you could do a progressive meal. Basically you split into four or five car loads, and each course of the meal is at a different house. Each car load ends up with a completely different meal, because the individual courses are unique to the house. Generally, it’s a four course meal, with dessert being with everyone at one place. So appetizers, soup and salad, and entree are in small groups. The benefit of this is that you can make it so that no two carloads are at the same house twice, meaning everyone gets to socialize and try new foods, while getting to know new people.

    Another idea I’d love to see is a “Beat Ben” challenge or two. Like, Ben goes up against a home cook (with a skill advantage) who then challenges him to their signature dish (the one they’ve cooked forever.) Ben only has the allotted amount of time to make that dish with no prior planning or practice. For example, imagine Ben has 30 minutes to make buttermilk biscuits and gravy against a Southern cook who makes it every week for Sunday brunch.

  • Laura De Santiago

    I have considered this. We could start by inviting a small group of people for potluck. Everyone brings a dish. We can cook up according to a few easy recipes as concocted by Sorted.