Sure, restaurants can be dark these days, but imagine one with no light at all, where only your sense of touch and taste could guide you. That’s what guests at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA, recently experienced thanks to a visit from the Blind Café, which calls itself a “positive social change organization that uses the concept of darkness to create innovative and imaginative events held entirely in the pitch dark” — with no blindfolds. Based in Boulder, CO, the organization offers a social experiment that can be used as a fundraiser and/or world-changing forum that explores what life is like in other people’s worlds.
Bon Appétit partnered with Santa Clara University to bring the first-ever college campus Blind Café experience to the staff, faculty, and students. The event was made possible by SCU’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the Ignatian Center, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and Modern Perspectives RLC.Mission Catering and SCU Dining Services provided all the food.
The Blind Café dinner events are accompanied by live music and legally blind keynote speakers. Guests listen to the music and speakers but are also challenged to break down their normal social barriers and see life, themselves, and others in a new and inspiring way — often through blindly fumbling through dinner and conversation at community tables in complete darkness.
At Santa Clara University, guests savored a gourmet meal designed by Bon Appétit chefs that they could experience while engaging with blind waitstaff and each other and learning about disabilities. The meal was designed with texture in mind and was vegetarian, to accommodate more participants (and remove the guesswork of eating unknown meat).
The response by all the guests was overwhelmingly positive. All parties involved with the coordination of this event have every desire to make this an annual occurrence. It was really as life changing as promised.
• Minced Vegetable Lettuce Cups | with mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, ginger, garlic, and hoisin sauce
• Blue Crostini | with red onion marmalade, blue cheese crumbles, and arugula
• Watermelon Cube | with balsamic reduction, mint, and feta crumbles
• Herb-Poached Cherry Tomato | with lemon-herb couscous and lemon zest
• Cucumber Roll | with herbed goat cheese, grilled peppers, and jalapeño
• Curried Lentil Fritter | with panko breadcrumbs and yogurt sauce
Submitted by Amber Redlick, Catering Administrator, and Stacy Stafford Scott, Regional and Account Marketing Manager