30 local homes to become their own restaurants for one evening

On April 1, more than 30 area homes will be transformed into local dining establishments for one magical evening.

This is not an April Fool’s joke.

For the last seven years, one of the more interesting fundraising events in town has been pairing talented chefs and caterers with local homeowners to put on special dinners for small groups of people all over Dayton. The meals are each as diverse and inspired as the homes and decor that provide the ambiance.

I have written about the Ronald McDonald House Doors of Compassion in the past, but keep going back for the army of incredible chefs showcasing their artistry and innovation in more interesting, intimate settings — all for a great cause.

MORE DINING NEWS: New “clean-eating” restaurant opens at Cornerstone in Centerville.

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“We expect over 300 attendees this year, so please be sure to book now. The deadline is Monday, March 20,” said Ann Berger, chef selection chair and the visionary behind this event after hearing about something similar from a friend in Cincinnati. “We hit this milestone because this event in unlike any other event in the city. It combines fun, fabulous food, networking, and the unknown — who will be your chef, whose house will you be sent to, and who will I meet this event at dinner?”

The event has grown from 23 chefs its first year in 2010 to 32 this year.

Although the foundation for the meal is the same across the board — tenderloin steak provided by Dorothy Lane Market, salad greens courtesy of Produce One, seafood from Foremost Seafood and wine courtesy of Wine Trends as well as dinner rolls provided by Evans Bakery — no two dinner parties are alike. Chefs are encouraged to use their culinary creativity and chops to create a unique dining experience and menu for their guests to ooh and ahh over.

New this year, chefs will get their choice of flavored olive oil and vinegar from Spicy Olive, a new olive oil company in the Austin Landing area.

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“Chefs love the creativity that the Doors format allows them. Many treat it like a cooking demonstration as guests look on, sharing their special culinary styles. Guests love getting to know the chefs, picking up recipe tips, and the ambiance created in each home by our gracious hosts,” said Karen Dempsey Volke, chief development officer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton.

All funds go to support Ronald McDonald House families during their time of need, keeping them close by to watch over and comfort their sick children.

It’s philanthropy through food, and eating for a worthy cause is a feel-good all the way around.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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