Our first dinner with our neighbors at Centennial Place! To say it went better than expected assumes that we had any expectations at all. A team of five, including myself, spent almost six hours preparing dinner for 150 people. (Centennial houses almost 150, and we wanted to be prepared for anything.)
The evening began with a short community church service, led by my wife and Pastor Dan Davidson of Rose City Church. Around 30 of our neighbors at Centennial joined for some portion of the service, which included music from Rose City's team, a time for residents to share life stories, corporate prayer for our friends and neighbors in need, and the blessing of the meal.
Our dinner menu included:
- Chicken breast with (mostly) homemade BBQ sauce...ask me sometime for the recipe for "mostly" homemade BBQ sauce.
- Pasta salad with lemon-tarragon vinaigrette.
- Sautéed green beans and onions
- Dinner roll
- Chocolate chip cookie
Everything was made and served fresh, expect for the roll and cookie. Those were courtesy of Le Gourmet Costco. I would like to make both the bread and dessert fresh for future dinners, but we kept our ambitions modest for launch.
We served around 70 people in total, which includes those who joined for the service. Given that we had prepared food for 150, we were able to give each person a to-go box, which we had purchased ahead of time in anticipation of leftovers.
Feedback from residents on the food was positive, which satisfied my need for validation. One guest went as far as to say it was "above par," which if you've ever golfed with me makes perfect sense.
By far the best thing we heard, from multiple diners, is that the event was a "stress-free, enjoyable time." For a community that does not otherwise have much opportunity to gather, and when they do it is to discuss issues in the building or between residents, that's something special to hear. We are hopeful for an even bigger turnout for August as word spreads.
Hard costs for this dinner were around $4.50 per plate, which included disposable dinner slightly nicer than styrofoam. The plan, in time for the September dinner, is to purchase reusable dinnerware, and to optimize our direct food costs to a steady $3 to $4 per plate. But we will remain committed to doing that without sacrificing freshness and quality, and continuing to offer new menu items to our guests.
Please consider supporting the work of Pasadena Community Supper Club. Your donation goes right onto the plates of our neighbors in need of a good time and a great meal.