Are you a traveler who enjoys authentic culinary adventures and meeting locals? If so, EatWith has you covered. A peer-to-peer marketplace for chefs and food lovers, it brings local hosts and food-loving travelers together for an entirely new type of dining-out experience. Tara Wagner, EatWith’s PR representative, spoke with RewardExpert about the inspiration behind the ground-breaking San Francisco–based communal dining company and why you should book a seat at an EatWith event the next time you travel.
Inspired by Unforgettable Experiences
For Guy Michlin, one of EatWith’s co-founders, it all started on a trip to Greece. “A chance interaction led to sharing a meal at a local family’s home,” Wagner recounted. “Eating the authentic local food, interacting with locals, and taking a look into a different culture became an unforgettable experience.”
In 2012, Michlin and the company’s other co-founder, Shemer Schwarz, joined together to transform that experience into a brand-new category of dining out: eating meals in people’s homes around the world. “The objective of EatWith is to bring local hosts with a passion for cooking and entertaining together with travelers who are looking for an authentic and new kind of experience,” Wagner explained.
“It’s a great way to meet locals and other new people while traveling and learn more intimately about the city and culture without feeling like a tourist.” Since its inception, EatWith has grown exponentially. The marketplace now features 650 hosts in 50 countries and more than 200 cities across the globe. Wagner said EatWith chefs have created more than 1,500 menus and hosted over 11,000 dinners.
Menus for Every Food Lover
Wagner believes anyone who loves food and meeting new people will enjoy an EatWith experience. She said guests come in all ages and range from travelers exploring new destinations to locals seeking an alternative to traditional restaurant dining. Dinners average between eight to 12 guests and meals range from $20 to $150 depending on the event menu and host. Finding an EatWith event is easy. Simply visit www.eatwith.com to search for events in your destination. You can sort the results by price and cuisine as well as filter them by accommodations—such as kid-friendly or wheelchair accessible—special diets and meal type (e.g. brunch, lunch or dinner).
Each event page features a menu as well as other details about the experience including its duration, location, a link to learn more about the hosts, and reviews from past diners. Once you’ve selected a menu and date, simply book, pay and confirm online. Gift cards are even available it you’d like to share an EatWith experience with friends or family.
While cuisines vary by destination, most major cities offer a wide range of unique opportunities. “There is a host in San Francisco who takes his guests to the local pier to introduce them to incredible sustainable seafood,” Wagner said.
A quick review of the menus available in New York revealed more than 30 cuisines. Travelers to London and Paris will find EatWith menus featuring more than a dozen different cuisines as well as meals offering authentic and traditional British and French dishes.
Secret Ingredient: Community
“We find that food brings people to our tables initially, but the connections they make at these tables are what bring people back,” Wagner said. “After talking and listening to stories from our guests and hosts, we’ve realized that community is the underlying ingredient. There is something serendipitous about the connections that people experience at EatWith events, such as discovering a new group of people whom you normally wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise.”
For new diners who decide to give EatWith a try, Wagner advised, “Arrive hungry! The love of good food is a strong basis for community. Our EatWith hosts are often the source of incredible information about their city—whether it’s recommendations on great restaurants to try or fun things to do. EatWith will give you an unforgettable food, social and cultural experience unlike no other.”