Just how Radical is the Radical Dining Society?
A couple of months ago my friend Alexa and I were chatting.
‘Oh, you might be interested in this new group – The Radical Dining Society – it sounds like some kind of posh dining club’ she said…
So, ever curious I signed up to see what it was about. And, I liked the rather pretty site and the promise of a wealth of foodie events to come.
But, very little seemed to be happening on the site and so far as I could tell a core part of the site was supposed to be members setting up their own Dinner Parties on a ‘come dine with me’ basis and waiting for other members to ask to join.
Another chat on the phone to Alexa and I suggested that I’d hold my own dinner party using their system. An experiment to see how it worked.
Alexa agreed to join me and I posted up a date. Three more people asked to attend and I confirmed that they were invited.
Then I heard nothing more. I posted up a menu…and wondered if perhaps someone would contact me to warn me they couldn’t eat something I was planning to cook. But still nothing.
On Monday one of my guests sent me a charming and apologetic message to say that she couldn’t make the event after all as her shifts had been changed. And, I sent personal messages to the two remaining strangers, asking them to confirm they were coming. I heard nothing at all. So, I posted on the dinner party wall. And I still heard nothing.
The net result is that Alexa and I had a good girly gossip, ate way too many chocolates and feasted on some slightly overdone pheasant.
We ate smoked salmon and fennel salad (based on this recipe from farmer’s girl)
Then pot roast pheasant which I’ve been making since I was about 12 (pheasant cooked in a medium oven with celery, shallots and carrots and enough white wine to keep the meat moist, lid on for the first hour and off for the final 15 minutes) braised red cabbage and little roast potatoes
That was followed by some rather deliciousy confit clementines with cream (inspired by Kavey Eat’s recipe here…but made with spiced rum!)
Followed by a large quantity of the Hotel Chocolat valentine chocolates I am about to review. We got rather carried away by trying to find out which of the ‘truffles’ were chocolate filled and which had a sweet fruit cream filling!
I’m annoyed that I bought food. I have a fridge full of cheeses (enough for 5 people) which were bought the previous weekend at the farmers market. And, too much leftover pot roast pheasant to freeze.
IF I do another event for the Radical Dining Society I will be a lot more cautious about accepting requests to join. And I sincerely hope they iron out some of the bugs in their site which make it tricky to message people who are not already friends and to post anything on their forums. I’ve also suggested they put up a set of guidelines for dinner parties that explains to guests once you’ve asked to go to an event and been accepted, it is up to you to let your host know if you can no longer make it! I have the greatest sympathy with restaurants who take reservations and find that people don’t show up and don’t phone or email to cancel…but, I’m not a restaurant. I paid for the food, I didn’t make a charge and it is me who has lost out.
I was impressed that after writing and complaining about my two no-shows, Julia, the founder of the Radical Dining Society took the time to phone me, and I would still love the concept to succeed because I DO think there’s a place for food based events that are not blogger-centric. So, for me, the jury is still out on this one.