“This sounds so awesome!” My husband, full of enthusiasm, relayed to me the announcement he heard at our neighborhood’s annual 4th of July Parade. “They’re gonna do a huge outdoor dinner party on Belvedere this fall—anyone can buy a ticket—a giant dinner party in the street!” Without knowing who would be cooking, who else might attend, or even the date, we KNEW we wanted to be a part if it.
You can imagine my glee when Kris from Edible Memphis contacted me and asked if I’d like to provide the dessert course for this fantastic event!
Edible Memphis' Dinner in the Gardens “quick deets”
- Saturday October 19, 2019
- Five chefs, five courses, five hundred guests dining al fresco in Central Gardens
- Get your ticket using this link and $10 will be donated to Thistle & Bee, our chosen nonprofit partner; use MUDDYS19 at checkout for a $75 discount
Now for some sidebar commentary … why I personally am delighted to participate as both a neighbor and chef!
Muddy’s has long been known as a community driven business. Our very mission is to love and serve our community, so we talk a lot internally about what that actually means.
An excerpt from our staff handbook:
“These days we hear an awful lot about how we’re all so hungry for community, companies want to be “communities”, and we’re all just gaga for “community”… but embracing an idea and committing to do the work aren’t the same thing. …
Community in our context means love and consideration for others. It means acting as if our individual actions affect the whole (they do!) and acknowledging that we are connected to our neighbors; by serving them well, we ourselves are served. It also means letting go of the need for things to be your way, giving up some things you want so others can get what they need.”
We have six guiding values for our business- the foundational values we all agree to when we join this team- but our handbook specifies three additional values as key ingredients for teamwork and community building: commitment, appreciation, and respect. We say “commitment is the cornerstone of community.”
This event is putting into action much of what I believe about building and living in community. To be a part of community means surrendering some control and committing to the shared experience. It’s putting the relationship of “neighbor” ahead of some of our personal preferences. You can’t live in community while also needing to “win” every time or control every outcome (a lesson I’m learning and relearning daily!). Living in community often means taking turns, serving each other, trusting in the other’s intentions, curiosity and willingness to try something new, and sometimes a little bit of improv. And those communities that we love being a part of are also ones where we show each other respect (even when we don't agree) and best of all, where people are appreciative of each other. Appreciation in community often looks like expressing thanks but also savoring experiences and being open to each others' ideas.
Five hundred people are going to show up for a little bit of the unknown at this outdoor dinner party. If you are one of them, you are going to commit your time, energy, dollars, and presence to share a meal with other people in this community- some whom you’ll know and some whom you’ll just be meeting.
You trust that the five chefs (and our teams!) will bring our creativity, dedication, and skill to the table to make something delicious and special, whether or not it’s a dish you would have chosen off from a menu.
You will play a starring role in a unique and fun evening, helping to ensure that those around you are included and having fun—just as they will do for you.
This is not a passive observer experience- this is five hundred people coming together to make some magic!
You could easily just go and spend the ticket value at a restaurant- choose the date, choose whom to eat with, and choose which dish you think you’d enjoy most. And that would be a lovely outing I’m sure. But this is something different on purpose.
What I love about this event is that the gathering itself IS the purpose— the food (though delightful!) plays an explicitly supporting role. YOU are the key ingredient in this evening’s purpose and WE as a community are the guest of honor, the main dish, and the experience.
Won’t you come and join us?
for more news and information about the event, visit the Eventbrite ticket link above or follow @EdibleMemphis on Instagram!