Le Diner En Blanc celebrated its 7th year in NYC with a glorious picnic in Lincoln Center’s historic courtyard. Guests of the event arrived decked out in all white creating an endless sea of chic, from the historic steps of the Opera to beyond the bandshell. Invitations to the party are the most coveted on the New York social calendar, and for good reason, it is a fabulous experience. To be surrounded by like minded individuals focused only on merriment is a rare occasion and one we should all take advantage of. Adding the appeal is the exclusivity of the guest list. Entry is only granted to a precious few thousand as many more join the expanding wait list, hoping for their chance to enjoy the festivities. If you are fortunate enough to be extended an invitation you won’t know where the party is until the last possible moment. The party’s location is a closely guarded secret and it differs each year and is only revealed to reveler hours before the kickoff. Diner en Blanc is like no other as the guests provide their own atmosphere. Each table setting is curated by the attendees, who bring their own tables chairs and centerpieces. This concept allows for a tremendous creative effort as guests build elaborate setups complete with lighting and luxurious plating.
For this year’s party organizers partnered with taste makers Champagne Canard -Duchene and Kenwood Vineyards who kept glasses overflowing throughout the evening. The menu for the evening is also up to the attendees who have the option of providing their own feast or purchasing one of the gourmet baskets, curated by celebrity chef Todd English. For this year’s Diner en Blanc, Todd drew on his years of experience and cultivated four gourmet baskets with entrees that celebrate Americana in all its glory. Guests could choose between Main Lobster, Southern Fried Chicken, Smoky BBQ, and Vegetarian. We met up with Todd just before Diner en Blanc was to begin and managed to steal a few moments in between selfies. Mr. English looked dapper but casual in a white T-Shirt and chic fedora. The chef was all smiles as he recounted the perfect picnic meal, “ It would start with a big bottle of wine possibly a rose” he said, “I’m feeling really French these days so I would also like some foie gras taurine and perhaps some caviar.” We also asked who would make the best companions on this dream picnic, “I’m pretty boring, he says with a laugh, “If I could choose any guests it would be Leonardo DaVinci, Amadeus, and Thomas Jefferson. It would be amazing to dine with pure genius”. English has been with Diner En Blanc’s New York team since its first year and has witnessed the growth first hand. Of the venues they’ve utilized thus far, last year’s Robert Wagner Park stands out as one of the chef’s favorite. “ We were right by the waterfront”, he said. “with a view of lady liberty! No matter how many times you see it that’s a scene that never gets old.”
In addition to the chance to meet the celebrity chef, guests were also treated to several performances including a duo of opera singers, Elew, the amazing Jazz pianist, and the adorable musicians of the Brooklyn United Marching Band. The pint sized marching band was a big hit as they impressed the crowd with their roaming performances and rhythmic selections. In between courses and performances, guests mingled and chatted taking pictures of some of the best and most creatively dressed people. The energy was amazing as people truly came together to have a good time. The event inspired a sense of unity and inclusion as people from all social political and ethnic backgrounds celebrated as one united group.
This concept of Diner en Blanc may have begun in Paris, but can be experienced all over the globe in 79 cities and 28 countries worldwide. Some of the other host cities include Baltimore, Maryland, Seattle, Washington, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Bangkok Thailand. For more information on Diner En Blanc NYC, visit newyork.dinerenblanc.com.
Enjoy these amazing photos by:
Eric Vitale (Eric Vitale Photography)
Irine Peru (Light Feather Photo)