Epicuriosity: a South West dinner party with a twist
Published Friday, July 5, 2019 in Lifestyle & Inspiration
Western Australia’s South-West has no shortage of amazing restaurants, wineries, and private chefs to whip up a gourmet meal for you in your holiday home. But there’s a new dining concept in town you need to try.
Let us introduce you to Epicuriosity.
Gather your friends and sit back while the team cooks up a five-course storm for you. This isn’t just a dinner that will knock your socks off; you’ll also have a great time making memories and getting a little creative.
What you’ll need:
A group of friends or family, holiday accommodation with a fully-equipped kitchen, and a dining table big enough for everyone. Bring an open mind and your appetite.
What Epicuriosity will bring:
Award-winning chefs, beautiful food that will be freshly cooked in the kitchen, great local wine, plenty of entertaining ‘challenges’, an MC/facilitator + a waiter.
Epicuriosity is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Grieg and Juliet Olsen. Originally from New Zealand – Grieg from Auckland and Juliet from a small town on the north island – they both have decades of experience in hospitality. Juliet is a chef and cultivated her knowledge of wine while working for a winemaker. The other half of the duo, Grieg, is a celebrated chef. He was the Young Chef of the Year in NZ at the start of his career, and since then has been directly involved in nine restaurants’ Gold Plate Award honours in Perth and the South-West.
The two started their successful Dunsborough-based catering business, Olsen’s Catering, in 2004 before expanding into weddings and private dinner parties. They’ve clocked up an impressive amount – 1,000 dinner parties and counting.
The Epicuriosity concept was brewing for years but only came to life recently. It stemmed from their family’s love of light-hearted rivalry and board games, co-owner Juliet says. They’d frequently ask each other to guess what wine they were drinking, or to smell various herbs and spices and identify them correctly (much like the tasks you see on MasterChef). And now both of those games have been turned into activities for Epicuriosity guests.
“There’s one challenge where everyone has to put on a blindfold, and they’re given a container with three common ingredients. They know this taste or smell, but they often can’t quite nail it. It’s hilarious,” she says. “Or we’ll give everyone three canapés and they have to guess which country they come from.”
Existing challenges are updated frequently, and new ones added. Juliet says she tailors the activities and questions to each particular group, depending for example on whether there will be kids in the party, or if the guests are travel buffs, wine connoisseurs, or hospitality professionals.
“It’s an evening where anyone can win. We’ve had big foodies and chefs attend and I can’t ever remember them winning!” she laughs. “So it’s not necessarily about who knows the most.”
And while there may be an element of competition, Epicuriosity’s activities aren’t created to trick people. There isn’t any judging, or any reason for a guest who doesn’t know much about food and wine to feel intimidated.
“That’s not what we’re about, and we didn’t want anything like that. We just want people to have a great time and eat great food,” she says.
Upbeat and genuine, it’s these qualities that make guests feel at ease. And it shone through clearly when asked what her favourite Epicuriosity memory had been. It involved a guest who wasn’t particularly keen on the idea – in the beginning, at least.
“He didn’t want to be at a dinner party or at any ‘foodie competition’. He started out being withdrawn but by the end he was in hysterics. He came up to us after and said, ‘I wouldn’t have missed that for the world’. We were absolutely thrilled.”
It’s not hard to see why Juliet and Grieg enjoy their job so much. Not only does it combine all the things that they love, it’s also rewarding to make others happy.
“We get a huge kick out of seeing a table of people roaring with laughter and just having the best time. It’s a great business to be in.”
Enjoy this dinner party with a twist during your next getaway to Western Australia’s South-West.
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