Crystal Hendrickson and her business partner love food and being social — which is why, a few years ago, they came up with an an annual fundraiser that blended their love of community building with making meals.
DinnerPartyYVR — organized by digital PR firm Social Bites — is now in its fourth year. It's grown in size with 500 hobby chefs hosting thousands of happy eaters in their homes while raising money for their favourite charities.
"We all love connecting with each other and meeting new friends, so why not have strangers over for dinner?" Hendrickson said.
Participants attending the April 9 event pick their favourite flavours from an online list of "hobby chefs" and pay a minimum of $50 for a ticket. All of that money goes to a charity chosen by the hobby chef.
Last year's event raised $30,000 for local charities. Hendrickson says the social impact is also long lasting.
"The best stories come out afterwards," she told host Gloria Macarenko.
"Last year I heard someone had just immigrated here from Prague and the only thing they booked tickets for was DinnerPartyYVR and they met new friends. Somebody met their boyfriend at our after-party because we always bring everybody back together.
"It's where you end up being in the kitchen and making a true connection and food levels the playing field because we have something in common to talk about".
In addition to the home dining during this year's event, there will be a special party with food provided by Jason Pleym of Two Rivers Meats.
"People love to make other people feel good. The feeling you get when people are happy and feeling well fed is a beautiful thing," Pleym said.
While cutting meat is his business, he loves to cook at home. In the above video Pleym shows off his mouthwatering appetizer offerings to host Gloria Macarenko on Our Vancouver.