I can’t tell you how everything started, but what I do remember is that one day, I saw some post on Instagram. I checked the link in bio and discovered the existence of an Italian gourmet club, born to experiment the best fine dining experiences of the country. My curiosity immediately rose. It reminded me “Les Grandes Tables du Monde”, this French association of connoisseurs eating in what they named the best restaurants of the world.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been suffering of hyperesthesia, having for consequence to be later known either as a complaining person or a fine palate, depending on who was referring to me. Younger, I thought to become “nez” in order to exploit this drawback and turn it into a blessing. But getting older, I followed a more standard path and got graduated in economy. I became known as the one suffering from lights, smell, noise, wind, heat; the one that was never feeling well, you can say. This is something I guess no one ever understood, and I always felt ashamed about it, having the perpetual feeling of being a pain in the ass. Kid, each time I was going to the dentist, my eyes were crying because they could not stand the strong light. How many times I thought dying at the cinema because someone was stinking? How many awful experiences I had to live in restaurants where the smells were too invading?
I remember teen having the impression that only superheroes or Jim Elison from the Sentinel telefilm could get me.
A couple of years ago, after I discovered officially about my hyperesthesia and could finally put a name on it, I took the decision to exploit this hyper sensitivity and make it my job. I decided I should start hanging out with people similar to me or at least willing to develop their sensitivity. I started to follow sommelier lessons and combine my skills towards taste with my love for food.
So when I discovered the existence of this club, I saw it as an opportunity to meet people sharing similar interests, instead of always having to convince my friends to come with me to live food experiences, which for them were secondary in term of priorities.
It took me months though to get the courage to finally register myself.
The first meeting I attended, I got strike by the flu a couple of weeks before, and when I went there I still did not have recovered completely my smell. I thought it was pure irony.
I loved immediately the format of the meeting. Even if people were older than me (usually fine dining interest grows with purchase power ability, that comes with age…), I felt at my ease. Everyone was genuine and there to enjoy a nice meal with another dozen of persons sharing the same passion for good food.
I can only say that I was completely seduced and already thinking to go back.
It reminds me in a way the “foodie meet up” I experimented a couple of weeks ago, where I had brunch with other crazy foodies taking picture of their food getting cold. So good to feel with people that understand your weirdo habits…
This association started with the passion of an engineer, who 10 years ago started to make a tour of the best restaurants around, taking picture of the dishes and finally generated a community sharing the same interest. At one point, he completely stopped his work, and fine dining as writing about it became his day job. In parallel, he started to build a database of partners, promoting premium quality food from Italian tradition.
Last, another advantage of such a club is that it can guarantee you a booking to restaurants where you could wait for months before getting it. Besides, you get to meet the chef and have a formal exchange with him. And, the menu is tailored for the club. What does it mean ?