Hundreds of white-clad diners are set to invade a top-secret venue next month for the return of Whistler's "chic picnic," Dîner en Blanc.
Founded in Paris in 1988, Dîner en Blanc is an elegant epicurean affair that asks attendees to dress in white and descend upon an outdoor setting that isn't revealed until the very last minute. The plein air feast has since spread to more than 50 cities worldwide and now boasts over 150,000 participants, including the 600 or so expected to break bread in a beautiful public setting somewhere in Whistler on Aug. 21.
Making its return to the resort after its inaugural year, Dîner en Blanc is being helmed by the Bearfoot Bistro for the first time. The fine dining restaurant's marketing manager assured that the 2015 edition would be the kind of culinary spectacle Bearfoot has become known for.
"We're planning to create something that is going to be very stunning with a 'wow' factor at the secret venue," explained Marc Des Rosiers. "We're going to be investing quite a lot to create something unique."
This posh picnic was founded on the European principles of dining; that a meal is only memorable when shared with friends, and Des Rosiers feels Whistler is perfectly tailored to that philosophy.
"We just want to create a social happening that's a little more formal. It's something that I feel most people in Whistler would be willing to embrace," he said. "We hope to be able to grow the number (of attendees) year over year so that this would become a must-do event every summer in Whistler."
The added element of secrecy, not to mention the relative exclusivity of the event with registration opening first to former attendees and their invited guests, lends Dîner en Blanc a coveted spot in Whistler's social calendar.
"Part of the experience is that everybody wants to know from one city to another what the imagination (of guests) will be like and if they're able to keep this secret," said Des Rosiers. "The surprise element is very important to Dîner en Blanc and it goes back to the philosophy that was created 25 years ago."
Attendees are welcome to pack their own picnic or choose from four pre-prepared meal options from Bearfoot's acclaimed executive chef Melissa Craig that range in price from $50 to $100 for two people. There's also a vegetarian option for $50. (Check out Pique next week for a discussion with Craig on what she will be cooking up for the event.)
Guests are prohibited from bringing alcohol, but they do have the option to pre-order champagne or wine from the Bearfoot.
Guests can also bring their own table, chairs and white table linens, or rent them from the Bearfoot, as well as proper stemware and white dinnerware. Of course, don't forget to sport your most elegant all-white attire.
Registration is now open for guests who attended last year. On Thursday, July 23, guests sponsored by last year's attendees can register. In the meantime, you can put yourself on the waitlist until registration opens to the public on July 30.
Visit www.whistler.dinerenblanc.info/register for registration and more information.