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Dining in the dark at 48 High in Grand Falls-Windsor - a foreign experience


It was an experience like no other, foreign, nerve wrecking and delightful at the same time.

I had never experienced anything like this before, I was nervous and I wondered if people were staring at me.

As I sat there interviewing chef Stephen Snow of 48 High, I just hoped and prayed that I didn’t spill soup all over my outfit and make a fool out of myself.

My surroundings were unfamiliar and my senses were totally out of touch. I had no idea where anything on the table was placed; although the soup smelled delicious I was really just hoping I liked it and that there wasn’t any meat in it — I’m a really picky eater and known to spend a little too much time inspecting my food before taking the first bite. I wasn’t able to do that which added to the strangeness of this experience.

Meanwhile someone else was telling me how to eat, guiding my hands towards my bowl and placing my hands onto my utensils for me, things that I have done for myself for the last 23 years, I’m 24 by the way. To say the least it felt unusual to rely on someone else to help me with this.

I felt vulnerable and foolish as I realized how much I take for granted on a daily basis. The experience was so out of the ordinary for me and I kept thinking about how strange it felt. For some people that’s an ordinary everyday experience.

What I was briefly experiencing was dining without my vision or dining in the dark; the way people who are blind dine everyday.  

It made me so thankful for my vision. It also made me wish I knew how to have better served the blind man who frequented my restaurant back in my waitressing days. There’s a lot to know about guiding someone to where everything is located on the table, as someone had just done for me.

Although my experience felt strange it was humbling and one that I won’t soon forget. You too can experience this through the event the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and 48 High are offering to the public.

 Dining in the Dark is an unforgettable culinary experience where you will enjoy your meal while blindfolded; it’s like walking a mile in the shoes of a person living with vision loss.

Snow has been a chef at 48 High since February. He will be cooking up a delicious meal for the event that will include an appetizer and entree. He has never cooked for an event like Dining in the Dark before.

“This is new to me,” he said.

Snow experienced the dining blindfolded with me. It was his first time as well.

“It was a lot tougher than I expected, it feels like (the spoon is) forever away from your mouth,” Snow said.

When you can’t see your food a lot of your senses are heightened and you can really taste the flavors.

The staff at 48 High had some training to prepare for the event.

“We had someone come in and they went through a tutorial (about) how to engage with people and how to tell them where things are, helping (the staff) know what they need to say and ask people so they’re feeling comfortable when they’re sitting there with a bowl of soup in front of them (while blindfolded),” Snow said.

Snow is planning out the meal for the evening and intends to serve soup as the appetizer because it’s a dish that can be a struggle for people who are blind. How would you sit and eat a bowl of soup, that’s the public education part of the evening.

“Preparing for something like this is just cooking stuff that’s going to be a lot easier to pick up (and) nothing that’s going to be too hot to touch (or) that’s going to be too messy,” added Snow.

The Dining in the Dark event is taking place on Nov. 19 and tickets are already sold out. If the event goes well the CNIB is going to look at hosting another in the spring. The proceeds from the evening will support CNIB programs and services that help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are blind or partially sighted to lead full, active lives.

Snow said the evening is meant to be fun and charitable.

“I’m a little jealous that I have to sit on the inside the entire time,” he said.

I had never experienced anything like this before, I was nervous and I wondered if people were staring at me.

As I sat there interviewing chef Stephen Snow of 48 High, I just hoped and prayed that I didn’t spill soup all over my outfit and make a fool out of myself.

My surroundings were unfamiliar and my senses were totally out of touch. I had no idea where anything on the table was placed; although the soup smelled delicious I was really just hoping I liked it and that there wasn’t any meat in it — I’m a really picky eater and known to spend a little too much time inspecting my food before taking the first bite. I wasn’t able to do that which added to the strangeness of this experience.

Meanwhile someone else was telling me how to eat, guiding my hands towards my bowl and placing my hands onto my utensils for me, things that I have done for myself for the last 23 years, I’m 24 by the way. To say the least it felt unusual to rely on someone else to help me with this.

I felt vulnerable and foolish as I realized how much I take for granted on a daily basis. The experience was so out of the ordinary for me and I kept thinking about how strange it felt. For some people that’s an ordinary everyday experience.

What I was briefly experiencing was dining without my vision or dining in the dark; the way people who are blind dine everyday.  

It made me so thankful for my vision. It also made me wish I knew how to have better served the blind man who frequented my restaurant back in my waitressing days. There’s a lot to know about guiding someone to where everything is located on the table, as someone had just done for me.

Although my experience felt strange it was humbling and one that I won’t soon forget. You too can experience this through the event the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and 48 High are offering to the public.

 Dining in the Dark is an unforgettable culinary experience where you will enjoy your meal while blindfolded; it’s like walking a mile in the shoes of a person living with vision loss.

Snow has been a chef at 48 High since February. He will be cooking up a delicious meal for the event that will include an appetizer and entree. He has never cooked for an event like Dining in the Dark before.

“This is new to me,” he said.

Snow experienced the dining blindfolded with me. It was his first time as well.

“It was a lot tougher than I expected, it feels like (the spoon is) forever away from your mouth,” Snow said.

When you can’t see your food a lot of your senses are heightened and you can really taste the flavors.

The staff at 48 High had some training to prepare for the event.

“We had someone come in and they went through a tutorial (about) how to engage with people and how to tell them where things are, helping (the staff) know what they need to say and ask people so they’re feeling comfortable when they’re sitting there with a bowl of soup in front of them (while blindfolded),” Snow said.

Snow is planning out the meal for the evening and intends to serve soup as the appetizer because it’s a dish that can be a struggle for people who are blind. How would you sit and eat a bowl of soup, that’s the public education part of the evening.

“Preparing for something like this is just cooking stuff that’s going to be a lot easier to pick up (and) nothing that’s going to be too hot to touch (or) that’s going to be too messy,” added Snow.

The Dining in the Dark event is taking place on Nov. 19 and tickets are already sold out. If the event goes well the CNIB is going to look at hosting another in the spring. The proceeds from the evening will support CNIB programs and services that help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are blind or partially sighted to lead full, active lives.

Snow said the evening is meant to be fun and charitable.

“I’m a little jealous that I have to sit on the inside the entire time,” he said.

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