Social Colander: A Cambridge couple’s culinary experiment

An apple pie the size of your thumb? A macaroon the size of a skittle? The goal of the theme "Teany Delights" was to pair a tea with exquisite food miniatures. Here, "cheftestants" Nick Blumm and Naomi Hyun plate their winning dish, "Time for a Picnic."

After unofficially facing off with friends and roommates at countless dinner parties, Cambridge foodies Tiffany Chu and Mark Watabe decided to kick it up a notch.

In March, the couple opened their apartment doors to amateur chefs and cuisine connoisseurs for their first “Social Colander” party, a monthly series that lets guests pay $30 to eat, and vote on, the best dishes served up by three teams of amateur chefs.

The tastiest part – anyone is welcome at this private party.

“Every passing week, we’d try to out do each other at dinner. Soon it became an epic competition. we had so much fun, we decided to open it up to the community, and that’s how it started,” said Chu.

This Saturday, her apartment will be filled to the brim with about 20 people – three teams of two chefs, and dinner guests who will vote for the best cuisine.

The theme – “Heaven and Hell.”

Like most of their dinners, it sold out quickly – in three hours, and although the event is picking up popularity, Chu doesn’t expect it to leave the comfort of her home anytime soon.

“We like to keep the intimate spirit of the dinner party,” she said, adding that the event also comes with chat-worthy activities to put newcomers at ease.

“We’ve thought about the social interaction at play because we wanted it to be equally welcoming for everybody – whether they are a close friend or someone we’ve never me,” Chu said.

Daniel Daneshvar and his girlfriend Marta Garcia were two of 30 amateur chefs to face off in a Social Colander contest, however their “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” themed concoctions failed to nab them first place over the summer.

For Daneshvar, taking it out of the cozy Cambridge kitchen would make it tough on “cheftestants.”
“I think it would be cool to see it at a larger venue, but it would put a bigger burden on the chef teams.

Feeding 20 people is pretty hectic, but manageable. It would be fun with a larger group, but also a bigger challenge.”

Garcia agrees about the venue, but for a more sentimental reason: “It’s just a much homier feeling than eating out. There is a more personal feel to it.”


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