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Chicago In White Returns For A Second Magical Year

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 2, 2012 3:45PM

Photo by Dan Stout.
The Chicago launch of Diner en Blanc was one of the most talked-about food events of 2011. The pop-up dinner event, modeled on an infamous French meetup that began in 1988, brought 1,000 people to Daley Plaza for an all-white fete that made all of us who didn't get tickets endlessly jealous. Well, it's back for another year, and you've got another chance to join up.

You may remember that there was some small bit of confusion regarding the Diner en Blanc name; Aymeric Pasquier, the son of the founder of the original Diner en Blanc (which now attracts 10,000 people and is expanding around the world) was trying to keep control of the event. He tried to stop the Chicago version of the dinner party, though in the end it went ahead anyway. That's why this time around, the name is Chicago in White - Pasquier got the name trademarked.

That won't change anything about the way the dinner is run in Chicago. This year, the theme will center around the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. It's an appropriate choice, given that the famous White City, also meant to be ephemeral and temporary, was built for the Exposition and disappeared after it closed. Except for the Museum of Science and Industry, the only building left from the exposition—maybe this will be the secret location? Or perhaps the Wooded Isle, the most prominent architectural feature left over from the exposition?

No one will know where the dinner is being held until the day of the event. Those who score tickets will meet at "harmonization points" around the city and be led to the secret location. Last year's Daley Plaza extravaganza will be hard to top - but we're sure whatever the organizers come up with will be amazing. Diners dress in white and bring their own food, tables and tableware.

The cost is $30, and tickets are going to go fast. Last year, they sold out in about a minute and a half. This year, those who attended last year (or were on the wait list) will be given an opportunity to purchase tickets in advance on July 13th. For the rest of us, two waves of tickets will go on sale on July 16, first at noon and then at 9 p.m. A more detailed description and a primer on what to bring is available at the Chicago in White web page. The dinner is on August 25th.