Gourmet Group–Autumn Edition & your questions answered

I was really sad to miss the most recent gourmet group dinner. But I stole (I mean borrowed) a few pictures from Amy’s site so I could share with those of you who are anxious for Gourmet Group details (Allison). This is the fun invitation she designed. I love this style for Halloween!

The weather is finally nice enough to be outdoors…in the evenings. Here’s a shot of the fun table set up. I love the giant spider!

I especially liked the masquerade idea–fun, classy and creative. See Amy’s blog for the menu. Sounds yummy! I hate missing good food.

If you are planning an Autumn-themed dinner party, check out this article by Jaimee Rose @ the AZ Republic for lots more ideas.

Forming your own gourmet group?
Here are the answers to some of your questions:

What is it?
A group of like-minded (read: at least semi-insane) ladies (I supposed you could invite men that like to entertain, too.) who take turns hosting fabulous meals for each other.

Because we are all, at least, semi-insane, and love good food and a good excuse for a party and we know that our husbands and children would be content with mac and cheese (from a box), and will never appreciate the time and energy we put into place cards, favors, centerpieces, etc.

We also share recipes and entertaining ideas, in case we ever have a dinner party for anyone, who isn’t in our group.

Who & When?
The number in your group can vary. That number just determines how often you meet. I am not the organizer of our group, but I could refer any other questions about this to her. I think what they did initially, was invite 6 or 8 friends who they knew liked to cook, and then asked them to find a partner to work with. You want to work in pairs, as it is too labor intensive to do all by yourself (unless you’re my friend, Taisey). We have a party most every month, leaving a couple of months open for potlucks with the hubbies, or a family breakfast. Say you had five crazy (I mean creative) friends to invite to start the group, and each of them was in charge of finding their own friend that they wanted to work with, that would make 6 pairs. You could schedule things for every other month and throw in a few group activities on the off months. That would be a great start. You could always expand later, if you had more people that wanted to be involve.

Does it cost money?
No. and yes. We don’t pay any money to anyone to be a part of the group. But you’d better be prepared to spend a little bit of money when your turn rolls around. No one has ever talked about the amount of money that should be spent, but it is kind of understood, that we will all put forth our best efforts to make our event really nice. Some people spend more because the dinner becomes a good excuse to get the new placemats/tableclothes/plates/home improvements, they have been wanting. I give extra points to those who can come up with inexpensive ways to make things really nice. For example, I was amazed to see the entire room draped in fabric at Jackie and Dierdre’s Middle Eastern feast last month. We felt like we were transported to another land. After prying a little, I found out that Dierdre’s aunt runs a rental business for wedding and party decorations and loves her niece enough to let her use this stuff for free! Had they bought all of the fabric to do that, it would have cost hundreds of dollars (or more), but they found a way to add the drama, without the price tag. I don’t think anyone cares to compare receipts, because we have a wonderful time each month and feel like we are being spoiled any way.

I’m Starting a Group! I need ideas!
I’ve only posted about a few of the fantastic gourmet group events we have had.
Go here to read about My Night in the Northwest with Kim.
Or here to read about The Back to School Luncheon for Big Girls.
I loved the creativity at the Super Souper Bowl.
And the drama of the Arabian Nights.

We’ve had an All Around the World theme, where each dish was from a different country, A Spring Brunch, A Valentine’s Dinner (just for ourselves), a Dominican/Caribbean Fiesta, A Berry themed dinner. And more.

Other ideas I’ve had are:
Chocolate–not just for dessert
Anne of Green Gables Tea Party (or rather, raspberry cordial)
Gourmet Thanksgiving

What does one meal usually entail?
While email is effective for coordinating schedules and rsvps, we always send real invitations in the mail, or hand delivered. This is a great way to set the tone for the meal and do something unexpected, like the invitation in a bottle for the Dominican meal, or the game ticket for the Souper Bowl.

There are usually appetizers waiting for guests when they arrive (unless I am hosting and then they are served 20 mins. after they get there–sorry!).

The table is usually beautifully set with place cards and theme-appropriate centerpieces.

The meal often includes a soup or salad course, followed by a main course, followed by dessert.

We often include favors for guests to take home. Some of my favorites have been beaded bracelets that double as napkin rings. But the best was the cute aprons Amy made that doubled as our placemats during the meal, and then we got to take home and keep forever!

It’s always fun to throw in something unexpected, like the Belly Dancer at the Arabian Nights, the Pop Quiz at my Back to School Lunch, or the Merengue Music at the Dominican Night.

So does that answer your questions? It’s a lot of work, once a year, but something I look forward to each month!

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)


  1. this sounds SO fun!! I think I might start a group at the first of the year…thanks for the tips and ideas!

  2. I love that spider too! What a great idea! If only I had the time, the money, the friends… 🙂

  3. Blissful Babe says

    Oh my! I might have to start a Gourmet Group! That’s like a dream come true for me. (incidentally, so is typing. I typed that sentence numerous times before it was right…)

    I love to entertain and cook and bake…and eat.

    *adds to list of fabulous ideas*

  4. Kim - ScrapToMyLu says

    You won the giveaway AND I featured you today on Today’s Creative Blog.
    Email me please

  5. Any Gilbert/Queen Creek girls wanna start one of these with me? Visit my family blog and leave me a comment if you do!

  6. This year on my birthday I will just party with my friends via zoom

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