In 2011, New York became the first city to host Le Dîner en Blanc after the pop-up dinner was launched in Paris nearly 30 years ago. Now, the event has spread across the country to 25 cities, with four premieres: Baltimore; Seattle; Richmond, VA; and Orange County, CA. This year, 14 international cities have joined the fête: Tauranga, New Zealand; Panama City, Panama; Bucharest, Romania; Gold Coast & Fraser Coast, Australia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Zagreb, Croatia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Leon, Mexico; Bangkok, Thailand; Lagos, Nigeria; and Mombosa, Kenya.
“It’s extremely highly-logistic, more than anyone can even imagine,” explained Gilles Amsallem, whose company Selavi Global produces Le Dîner en Blanc in New York City. “We have done other cities, and New York has the most regulations and legal-side. So what I can say is it’s extremely hard, detail-oriented work. It takes quite a few people everyday, for quite a few weeks and months to make that happen. But more than that we have the chance to have more than a hundred volunteers who are helping.”
This year, over 5,000 guests dined and danced under the stars to the music of ELEW, Samantha Jeffreys, Andrea Chinedu Nwoke, and the Brooklyn United Marching Band.
“American, picnic, fun, kind of classic,” said English to describe his inspiration behind the menus. “We keep it American, so it’s great!”
English said that he would have liked to create a more adventurous menu for Le Dîner en Blanc, like preparing Korean fried chicken, but the logistics make it infeasible and he’s learned to keep things simple.
“New Yorkers love a party. Are you kidding me? Everybody [who] lives in New York has FOMO [fear of missing out]. FOMO’d to death!” English explained. “And the word gets out and it’s beautiful. It really is beautiful to look at. I pulled up just now, and it’s fantastic. It really is magical. It’s a great group of people from all walks of life.”
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