At the end of August, the annual pop-up dinner experience called Dîner en Blanc will take place for the third time in Philadelphia.
As Dîner en Blanc’s popularity grew, a backlash was inevitable. It’s taken the form of Dîner en Noir.
ICYMI: Dîner en Blanc involves people buying tickets in advance for an outdoor dinner in a secret location for an evening of Paris-inspired, al fresco dining. For $65, participants are expected to provide their own food, bring their own furniture, and wear exclusively white clothes. They are paying for the location, the entertainment, and the experience of graceful — and photogenic — community dining.
About 2,500 people eagerly signed up for Dîner en Blanc, while thousands more crowd the waiting list.
If you’ve never been to the dinner, getting a ticket can be difficult. Organizers have been accused of elitism, as priority is given to returning guests and their friends.
What’s more, problems with the registration website have dogged the dinner for years. Although locally produced, the concept comes from a Paris-based company that forces its franchises to use its own server, which historically has had problems.
Chris Nowaczyk, a medical researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, got fed up with being shut out.
“I was actively looking at Dîner en Blanc Facebook page, and I saw it was happening to many other people,” said Nowaczyk. “So I felt that, if I made this happen, there might be other people that felt the same way I did.”
Nowaczyk created Dîner en Noir: same concept, but black. (Eric Rohmer vs. Jean-Luc Godard?) His ticketed dinner will benefit a charity — the hunger relief organization Philabundance. He is still busy booking noir-ish music acts for the dinner whose location will be revealed on the evening it takes place. While not elite, it is limited to 250 pairs of tickets.