Cooking Workshops With a Social Angle

After a hiatus, I have resumed my cooking workshops again and boy, was it fun!

Eight of us gathered around our stations (workstations for two), sipping La Marca Prosecco (thanks EJ Gallo) whilst we cooked up a storm and exchanged stories with each other.

The Mediterranean workshop comprised of three dishes which were designed to be easily recreated in a Hong Kong home kitchen without too many appliances/tools required. Such dishes included:

  1. Charred cherry tomato on Greek yoghurt appetiser.

  2. Grilled romaine lettuce and kale salad with red wine balsamic vinaigrette.

  3. Caramelised online and cardamon chicken dish.

Some pictures below to help capture the experience.

Watch out for our next workshops in November.

Charred cherry tomato on Greek yoghurt.

Charred cherry tomato on Greek yoghurt.

Grilled romaine and kale salad with a red wine balsamic vinaigrette.

Grilled romaine and kale salad with a red wine balsamic vinaigrette.

Caramelised onion with cardamon chicken

Caramelised onion with cardamon chicken

The trio of dishes sure to impress any dinner guest :)

The trio of dishes sure to impress any dinner guest :)

The FlirtyFridays Concept

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The Fun Begins Now.

The cornerstone of a civilized society is the dinner party, the original social network.

Founded in 2016, FlirtyFridays interweaves art with cuisine to create magical dining experiences for a curated community of working professionals looking to meet interesting, like-minded people within a trusted network.

Meals are prepared in an environment that is warm and genuine, giving guests the opportunity to connect with captivating people in a way that is difficult in our ‘adulting’ years.

Conversations are fun, light-hearted and intellectually stimulating, often galvanized by a short skit from an aspiring artist or inspiring speaker with an idea worth sharing.

More (Digitally) Connected, But Why Are We More Alone?

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Loneliness is the new epidemic in modern life.

Did you know, that in the UK, one in ten people often feel lonely and 48 per cent of people think we are getting lonelier in general? Recent research indicates that loneliness may be in fact, the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse.

Which begs the question, why are we getting lonelier?

Changes in modern society are largely to blame. We now live in nuclear family units, often at large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated. It means we feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.

The largest culprit though, stems largely with the advent of smartphone technology. There is no doubt, that our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication. How often do you notice people surfing the web in meetings or getting distracted by their devices when you are talking to them face to face?

This is becoming problematic. The more we immerse ourselves in our digital personas and world the more we remove ourself from the real world. The trouble arises not just in how we relate to each other, but also in how we relate to ourselves, in our capacity for self-reflection. We are getting used to a new way of being “alone together”. On one hand, people want to be together but on the other hand, they also wish to be connected with other places.

I’ve noticed it myself. Many times have I been distracted with my smartphone when I’m trying to immerse myself in a meaningful conversation with someone.

Face-to-face relationships are being compromised. People have lost the art of how to have a conversation. One that takes place in real-time whereby you cannot control what you are going to say. Texting, emailing etc. lets us present ourselves as we want to be. We can edit, which means we get to delete, which means we get to retouch who we are. Human relationships are rich, messy and demanding and we clean them up with technology. We sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We shortchange ourselves and over time we seem to forget this and stop caring.

To learn about each other, we need to use conversations with each other to learn how to have conversations with ourselves. Hence a flight from conversation will compromise our ability for self-reflection. People are getting so used to being shortchanged out of real conversation, that they are almost willing to be dispensed with people altogether.

My greatest fear is that technology is taking us to places we don’t want to go. In our increasingly “plugged in” lives, our little devices are so psychologically powerful that they don’t change what we do, but they fundamentally change who we are.

We expect more from technology, and less from each other. Why? Technology appears to us most where we are most vulnerable. And we are vulnerable. We are lonely, but afraid of intimacy. We turn to technology to help us feel connected in ways we can comfortably control. But are we really so much in control?

It seems that people are afraid of being alone. We become anxious, fidget and reach for a device. Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved. And people try solving it by connecting digitally. But here, connection is more of a symptom, than a cure. It expresses, but doesn’t solve an underlying problem. If we don’t cultivate the capacity for solitude, we are setting ourselves up for isolation.

The Ushering Of A New Social Dining Movement

"Neither restaurant nor dinner party, but both at once."

Cheers to those who have taken the time to read my first entry. It is here that I will begin documenting the evolution and journey of the FlirtyFridays movement, amongst many other ancillary topics that spark my soul and I believe are noteworthy.

So, how to begin. As a creator at heart who genuinely enjoys connecting people and ideas over a hearty communal meal cooked with much love, it is my vision to usher into the world a new social dining movement. A movement that seeks to foster new social connections between like-minded individuals from diverse fields, in real life again.

FlirtyFridays began in my living room, with my love for bringing my friends who didn’t know one another together and subjecting them to my culinary creations in the form of a shared meal.

It then quickly evolved into a supper club as friends, having enjoyed their first experience, brought new friends along each time to meet new faces, exchange life stories and engage in endless conversation over great wine and rustic food.

From day one, my supper clubs have had a no smartphone policy (during the dinners at least). It means a lot to me to be able to create an experience for busy urbanites where they can take a momentarily pause in their lives, and come up close with the magic of slowing down to enjoy life and truly connect with those around us – all without technological interference.

Amazed by the relationships formed and everlasting impact from each FlirtyFridays supper club, I am prepared to embark on a journey to recreate such mind-blowing experiences everywhere.

Along with other passionate cooks who share a similar vision, we are on a mission to revolutionise the way people connect and build relationships through bespoke and intimate dinner parties that combine art, culture and cuisine.