Good People doing Good Things
Good People doing Good Things
An email popped into my inbox very recently from a young gentleman called Sam Swanson, he’s just launched a website called Do The Real, and he’s using it to start an initiative called the $25 Social Meal Challenge. Basically, this is a challenge for restaurants in Auckland. Sam is asking them to show us what they can do with one meal or dish that will be offered on one day for just $25...
The restaurant provides the food, and Sam provides the people. It’s a way for restaurants to bring in new customers, and it’s a way for food lovers in the city to try something they haven’t tried before. In Auckland’s increasingly amazing (and competitive) hospitality industry, this strikes me as a pretty good idea.
The first step in getting the $25 Social Meal Challenge off the ground is to test the waters and see if there is enough interest in the project from you (the person reading this who likes to eat out and eat well). As soon as Sam hits the minimum number of 50 people who are keen to get involved, he’ll start talking to restaurants. Think of him as a kind of match-maker for foodies.
Where did this idea come from? Well, according to Sam, it was inspired by a few different things. Last year he lived in Munich for six months, and he particularly loved the vibe he found in the beer halls there; how everyone would sit down at long tables and drink and eat together and talk about the news of the day.
He was travelling around Europe by himself at the time, and heading to these beer halls was a great way to meet people; travellers and locals alike, people to share a meal or a drink with.
Sam is new to Auckland, so he’s always keen to meet more people and make new connections – so he thought, why not try recreating that beer hall experience?
As a food lover himself, the $25 Social Meal Challenge seemed a no-brainer.
Like all great ideas, the Challenge stemmed from the simple fact that if Sam had come to Auckland and found these events already occurring, he definitely would be going to them. But there aren’t any, so he’s taken it upon himself to make them happen.
At the moment, Do the Real is a team of one; Sam. He’s worked in kitchens for years in different parts of the world, and he’s also spent a couple of years working for start-ups in Wellington - this idea combines these two passions.
One of his friends over in Germany, chef Stefan Knauer, helped with brainstorming at the conceptual stage, and will hopefully make it over to NZ at some point to lend a hand. In true Kiwi fashion, Sam is also going to rope a couple of his brothers into helping out.
He’s still very much in the testing stages for Do the Real, so right now he wants to find out what level of interest there is, from both you, the diners, and the restaurants themselves.
When it comes down to it, we all know that sharing food with friends and family is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Good food memories are lasting. The best thing Sam’s ever eaten for $25 or less is street food in Thailand (although he says that's more like the best food under $2.50!) and an unforgettable bowl of freshly made ravioli he had in Italy last year. Sam knows he'll think about those dishes and those moments forever, which is why he wants to create social and lasting food memories for all of us with Do The Real and the $25 Social Meal Challenge. Good person. Good thing.
The Challenge is about more than just a cheap lunch. It’s about meeting new people, supporting worthy local business, discovering new restaurants and trying new dishes (he has high hopes that restaurants will rise to the challenge and get properly creative with it).
These are all things we like and support. So we just wanted to say, good on you Sam.
If you think the Social Meal Challenge could be your cup of tea, head to the website and register your interest.
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