Wear white. They must bring their own table, chairs, white linens, dishes and glassware. They can bring their own picnic, or pay $50 for a boxed dinner. That's where MacKay - crowned Canada's Top Chef in 2011, and recently making headlines for closing his downtown restaurants - comes in.
And yet, on this night, MacKay is not the story. What's most interesting about Diner en Blanc Vancouver is that we're doing it - not reluctantly, not with our usual toe-scuffing, passive-aggressive recalcitrance - but with great enthusiasm.
In a city known alternately for being either "no fun" or for post-hockey game riots, 1,200 people dressed in white, complete with fascinators, top hats, wedding dresses and wingtips, packed up the required accoutrements and trekked to the iconic location (kept secret until the event's start). Even more surprising, the event was a sell out; 4,000 would-be attendants languished on a waitlist.
At 8 p.m., the picnickers wave their napkins above their heads to signal the beginning of dinner and it's on: glasses clinking, bread breaking and meals consumed. At 9: 30, the party has grown louder, and sparklers signal that dinner is done and the dancing can start. Then suddenly, at 11: 15, it's over. The guests - and everything they brought with them - disappear into the night.