Table for 1,200 Serves Up Record-Setting Meal

Table for 1,200
Diners gather on the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge during Table for 1,200 on Saturday, May 31, 2014. (TED GRANT / CHRISD.CA)

On a normal day, the Esplanade Riel bridge will see pedestrians and cyclists make their way from The Forks to St. Boniface and vice versa. But on Saturday, the bridge transformed into Winnipeg’s largest dining experience.

Table for 1,200 was the masterful idea of chefs Ben Kramer and Mandel Hitzer. Kramer, of the University of Winnipeg’s Diversity Food Services, and Hitzer of Deer + Almond, decided to seat hundreds along a 1,200-foot table for dinner.

Through the guidance of StorefrontMB and 5468796 Architecture, along with local architect Joe Kalturnyk from RAW:Gallery, what transpired was a classy dining experience above the river with the Winnipeg skyline and Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a backdrop.

Hitzer and Kalturnyk are used to creating unique experiences for foodies. The two have successfully run RAW:almond on the Red River for the past two winters as guests bundle up to chow down on meals prepared by Winnipeg’s top chefs while inside a pop-up tent on the ice.

The location of Saturday’s meal was kept a secret until a few hours before the event, leaving diners to guess on where they would be enjoying their evening. Tickets to the one-of-a-kind experience sold out in just 36 hours.

Besides the food, a mini design competition was held for the best table setting with $1,200 in prizes available to be won. Table captains had the responsibility of transforming their table with decor, and a “white out” was chosen as the dress code for the night.

Organizer Johanna Hurme said the captains poured their creative energy into constructing innovative and exciting table settings for the non-profit event.

Next year promises to be bigger and better, with chefs vowing to up their culinary game for 2,400 guests.

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