Guests to dine in the dark

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Sarah Regnier, left, a board member of the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent; and Shelby Sanchuk, communications and fundraising assistant with the centre’s Foundation, get in a little practice for their approaching Dining in the Dark fundraiser Jan. 22. Guests will dine blindfolded and will have the opportunity to experience other sensory deprivation over the course of the evening.
Sarah Regnier, left, a board member of the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent; and Shelby Sanchuk, communications and fundraising assistant with the centre’s Foundation, get in a little practice for their approaching Dining in the Dark fundraiser Jan. 22. Guests will dine blindfolded and will have the opportunity to experience other sensory deprivation over the course of the evening.

Sensory deprivation dining is on the menu this month, as a fundraising event will have guests take part in a dark dinner party.

Dining in the Dark, a fundraiser for the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent, takes place Jan. 22. Guests will wear blindfolds.

Proceeds go towards the funding of equipment for children with sensory challenges, said Sarah Regnier, a member of the foundation’s board.

“As a foundation board member, we were looking to provide another event that would raise funds for the urgent needs campaign for the foundation,” she said. “It is a good idea and a good fit for the centre.”

The experience may not be as extreme as that of Toronto and Montreal restaurant O.Noir, where guests dine in total darkness and are served by blind wait staff, but Dining in the Dark should give people a similar experience, without the terror.

“We actually looked at O.Noir and the customer reviews to see the best way to put on this event,” Regnier said. “We’re using a blindfold as opposed to going completely in the dark. At least with the blindfold, people can still enjoy their meal if the experience is too much.”

Some guests at O.Noir can’t take the disorientation and have to leave. With Dining in the Dark, if the lack of vision is overpowering, Regnier said guests can take off their blindfolds.

As well, the wait staff will need to see for the event, as they are Aristo’s staff.

Guests may not be able to see their three-course meal as they eat, but they’ll certainly be able to taste it. They will also have to adjust to working minus one of their senses.

“Doing everyday tasks, even just eating or having a conversation, is a completely different experience with you take away one of your senses,” Regnier said. “I think people will surprise themselves on how much focus they are going to require to remember where their food is on their plate and where they put their wine glass, and how much they’ll need to focus on the conversation with the person beside them.”

Regnier said there will be opportunities for guests to experience removal of other senses during the evening as well.

After the meal, there will be a silent auction of items donated by local business, and a few other goodies, including hockey stick autographed by Maple Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf.

Regnier said she hopes about 100 people attend.

Tickets are $75 each (which includes a $30 tax receipt) and can be reserved by calling Shelby Sanchuk at the Children’s Treatment Centre at 519-354-0520, ext. 226, or by e-mail to ssanchuk@childrenstreatment-ck.com.

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