Fabulously stylish underground event Dîner en Blanc celebrates five years in Chicago—but where?
Imagine keeping a secret from thousands of people; year after year, Dîner en Blanc Chicago has done just that. The ultra-exclusive dinner marks its fifth event on August 12, when 3,000 Chicagoans decked out in all white will be led to a top-secret landmark to dine picnic-style. “The idea is to celebrate the city,” says Annette Dalloo, one of Dîner en Blanc Chicago’s four directors. “And one of the magical pieces of the event is that the location is secret.”
Much of the inspiration for the Chicago event comes from the original Dîner en Blanc Paris, which was first held in 1988. “We use the French traditions as our root,” says director James Wild. “It’s celebrating the idea of food and wine, but also because we’re in the Midwest, accessing fresh ingredients like lake trout.” While guests can purchase from a provided menu, some 70 percent of attendees bring their own food (though all wine must be bought via the caterer).
With a waiting list of over 10,000, snagging a ticket to the dinner is no easy feat—but those lucky enough to make the cut are treated to an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind. “We bring the neighborhoods together and make those zip codes fade away,” says director Roger Hobby. “We see people sharing and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”