The very first inkling of an inspiration for Woolery Kitchen came back in 2010 when Andre and I travelled to Buenos Aires. During my research I came across an experience that I hadn’t known about before, but it really intrigued me; underground dining. Here is a snippet from the website:
“Welcome to Casa SaltShaker. We offer a unique dining experience, sharing a table with other guests at our home in Barrio Norte. The setting is casual and the conversation lively. Our food is eclectic home cooking exploring Andean and Mediterranean cuisines. It’s all about meeting new friends over good food and wine. A truly “don’t miss” experience for both travelers and locals!”
I loved this because I was looking for food experiences other than cooking classes. I’ve been to many cooking classes over the years, and to be honest, I just go to eat. I don’t really have any interest in learning how to make the food.
Underground dining goes by many names: closed door dining, guerrilla restaurants, and sometimes anti-restaurants, but the basic idea is that you go to a private home for a dinner party that you pay to attend. The draw isn’t just the food. In fact, the place we went to doesn’t bill themselves as five-star dining, rather a place to meet other people in a casual setting over dinner from someone who enjoys cooking.
When we arrived at the underground restaurant there was time to mingle with the other guests before dinner began. During dinner we talked with each other and the host casually conversed with us about things like the food, his home and Buenos Aires. We met some of the most interesting people, including an older couple who had sold all of their belongings after the wife recovered from cancer, bought an RV and travelled to all 51 states. The food was good, but I honestly don’t remember it as much as I remember the experience. After dinner we all went out to party and we even kept in touch with some of the people we met that night for years.
As soon as I came back I knew that somehow I wanted to be involved in something like this. I looked into joining a few dinner clubs in New York, but it never really went anywhere. I’ve always loved hosting experiences for my friends and family but it wasn’t until years later that I was able to figure out how to combine my passion for of food, travel and creating experiences to envision Woolery Kitchen.