Networking Dinner at a Stranger’s House
Word is getting around that a dinner event at a stranger’s place somewhere in Chapinero is a must-do experience if you are looking to meet great people. So how does it work? Do you just walk into someone’s home and eat their food? And in Colombia, where security is such a delicate subject? Curious about the concept, I had to try it out myself as my sources told me it would be a guaranteed memorable evening.
The concept of the PopUp dinner is an idea already taking place in other continents, where people are opening their homes to strangers and cooking for them. Sara and Andrés, the creators of BogotaPopUps, have brought the idea to the capital of Colombia in January 2015 and it has been a success from the very beginning. Due to their day jobs and the time consuming planning, creation and preparation of the dinner, they open their home only once a month for a select group of 10 people.
I immediately signed up and giddily waited for the day to arrive. The event took place on Saturday in the evening. The hosts welcomed us into their cozy and stylish apartment and led us to their terrace where other guests were enjoying a welcome cocktail accompanied by homemade appetizers inspired by international cuisine. Colombians and expats alike are curious to meet each other and excited to see what the evening holds in store. We mingle to the background of the beautiful city landscape at sunset and at 7pm sharp we are invited to step inside and settle around the dinner table. We are told to sit wherever we want except next to the person we arrived with. I find this refreshing as it sets the tone.
For dinner, the hosts provide the option for guests to bring their own wine or give a donation in exchange for a bottle from the house. As everyone joyfully starts uncorking bottles and red wine starts pouring freely around the table, the feeling already feels familiar. Being in Sara and Andrés’s cozy home and being surrounded by friendly faces laughing around the dinner table is so much more intimate than any other networking event I have ever been to. It almost feels like you’re sharing a dinner with old friends.
The first dish of the 4-course meal is served and Sara takes the time to explain how she carefully crafted her dish. She goes on to do the same with her homemade pasta, Portobello stuffed mushroom and smoked sorbet. By the time dinner is over it is already 10:30 and a few begin to head off, while the rest of us stay for more laughs. We continue to happily chat with our cups and bellies full until two of the morning.
I can say the event was indeed a memorable one as I was promised and is ideal for those new to the city or simple looking to connect. You meet interesting expats and locals of all profiles who are open to sharing an evening of fun, laughter and homemade food made with love.