Posted by: dinaguillen | May 31, 2009

Wine, Dine, and Donate

Often times, after revealing to someone who loves to cook that I’m in a cooking club, I get asked lots of questions on how to start one and what’s it like being in one.  Now that I’ve co-written a book about cooking clubs, those questions are coming a lot more frequently, which gets me very excited because I love talking about it.  And I especially love to talk about one particular cooking club that we profiled in our book – the Nashville Wine.Dine.Donate Cooking Club.  

If you’re thinking about starting a cooking club but not quite sure where you want to go with it, Susan Goodwin and the Nashville Wine.Dine.Donate Cooking Club could be your inspiration.  Wine.Dine.Donate is a program developed by Epicurious.com to help end hunger in America.  Epicurious would feature new menus and recipes developed by celebrated chefs from around the world, and encouraged people to host dinner parties using those recipes and ask dinner guests to donate money to their local food bank.  

Susan, who had been thinking about starting a cooking club for a long time, was completely inspired by the Wine.Dine.Donate program, and while she loved the chef-inspired menus, she wanted to come up with her own.  She had just returned from a culinary trip to Italy, and designed a menu around her trip.  She sent emails to her friends and co-workers to come enjoy an extravagant Italian dinner, and in lieu of bringing food and drinks, she asked everyone to give a minimum donation of $25, or whatever they would spend at a nice restaurant.  They raised over $300 for the Second Harvest Food Bank that September evening in 2006, and have been going strong every month ever since.  

The Nashville Wine Dine Donate Cooking Club

The Nashville Wine Dine Donate Cooking Club

There are now over 45 members in the Nashville WDD group, they have raised over $4,000 since their inception, and there is talk of other chapters opening up since this one is so full.  Each gathering is booked within minutes of an email invitation being sent.  

When Cooking Club was released on May 1st,  the Nashville WDD group threw a book launch party on May 2nd.  Over 27 people showed up, including the local press, the CEO and the VP of Development for the Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville, country singer Lee Greenwood, and Director of the Food Bank Network of Argentina, Vanina Ubino.  Best news of all, they raised a record amount that evening – $965!  According to Susan’s calculator, that $965 translated into 3,860 emergency food box meals!

Hostess Jerry Hardwick with Lee Greenwood

Hostess Jerry Hardwick with Lee Greenwood

From left, Vanina Ubino, Susan Goodwin and Jaynee Day

From left, Vanina Ubino, Susan Goodwin and Jaynee Day

Nashville WDD Book Launch Party

Nashville WDD Book Launch Party

More Nashville WDD Members

More Nashville WDD Members

Nashville WDD Members

Nashville WDD Members

Susan, you are such an inspiration, and hopefully anyone who is thinking about starting a cooking club will be inspired by your story and want to do the same.  Congratulations, my friend!

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