From global phenomenon to highly sought-after “secret,” Dîner en Blanc marks the world’s first viral event, a très chic picnic imported from Paris. The event — part pop-up feast, part mystery tour, part je ne sais quoi — gathers thousands of culinary and culture enthusiasts, all dressed in elegant white, in a secret locale for an unforgettable evening of fine dining and gaiety that is revealed at the last minute.
True to tradition, the day of the event unfolds the same in every city: the outdoor site is revealed at the last-minute to preserve spontaneity and secrecy. Guests first meet in groups of between 100-300 people at specific rallying points and organizers then escort them to the site. Everyone is asked to dress elegantly in white, from head to toe, bring their own epicurean feasts, tables, chairs, fine china, silverware and white tablecloth. Over the course of the evening, the diners celebrate amid gourmet food and live music, complete with festive white balloons and sparklers. And when it is time to leave, guests pack up their crystal, dinnerware and tables, pick up all their litter and head into the night, leaving behind no sign of their elegant revelry.
Prior to 2011, Dîner en Blanc had been held in only two cities, Paris and Montreal. We were retained in 2011 with only three weeks notice to handle the U.S. launch of the first Dîner en Blanc, which was held in New York’s Battery Park. Neither the media nor the public were familiar with the event and we had the challenge of generating interest and press coverage for the debut of this elegant French flash mob event and to ensure that the public attended the event.
Once again our ability to make news and headlines that the media wants to cover came into play. We targeted specific influential media to build significant buzz and unparalleled word-of-mouth. In 2011 our media coverage included several New York Times stories, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Zagat, ABC-TV’s “Nightline,” Getty Photos, Huffington Post, and Yahoo. In 2012 and 2013 we secured press including The New York Times, Vogue, W Magazine, Epicurious, CNN, CBS This Morning, NPR Radio, Agence France and Telemundo.
The event is now the hottest viral culinary event in the world and is rapidly becoming a must-attend event worldwide. The media coverage we secured for the 2011 Dîner en Blanc was a turning point for the organization. Organizers have said in countless interviews that after the New York event, the buzz was worldwide and organizers started receiving requests not just from cities in the U.S. and North America but all the way to Australia, Singapore, even Rwanda. In 2012 the event doubled in size to 22 cities across five continents, 8 in the U.S. In 2013 it expanded to 40 cities worldwide and 16 in the U.S. We expect the number of cities and people attending the event to double every year.