Do you love prawns, wine and making new friends? If so, read here to learn about UK Cityslicker Marianne's experience of Wok+Wine, a London networking event.
If you love jumbo prawns, wine and good company, you should check out Peter Mandeno’s brainchild Wok+Wine. Wok+Wine recently held it’s 100th event in London, which I attended with my trusty LC-A. The idea is simple but brilliant, a group of strangers get together in a mystery location to socialize and network over a whole lot of wine and wok-friend prawns. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what the creator Peter had to say:
How and why did you start Wok+Wine?
I had arrived in New York from Amsterdam and quickly realised that my social and professional success there would be directly proportional to the diversity of my network. I only knew a couple of people and I wanted to meet other kinds of people, defined not by the labels that society used to describe us but by a shared open-mindedness and curiosity. I wanted to be in a place where I had no idea what my next conversation would be, just that it would be interesting. Wok+Wine was my solution. And it rapidly grew from just an idea into something real.
Where did it first start?
Wok+Wine began in a small apartment on 12th Street in Manhattan’s East Village. The concept quickly outgrew the apartment and we begged, stole, and borrowed our way into friends’ yoga studios, tea-houses and art galleries. We’ve since been in some amazing venues such as bike shops, hair salons, demolition sites and even an abandoned school library.
What’s it been like developing Wok+Wine?
Wok+Wine has been one great global experimental roller coaster. We work so hard on making the events perfect so to our guests it seems really simple. Sitting in a traffic jam in San Francisco or London with 40 pounds of shrimp in the boot stressing about what we still have to organize I’m thinking “what the #@&% are we doing?”, but my ‘hug-and-high-five-o-meter’ registers the real reward. We literally transform a room of strangers into friends in a couple of hours regardless of age, industry, culture, interests. That is incredibly powerful. People are so grateful (hence the hugs and high fives) and that is my ‘fuel’ for keeping going.
What three words would you use to describe your concept?
Quality. Authenticity. Diversity.
What can we expect in the future from yourself and Wok+Wine?
I have really big plans. Right now my focus is on finding people around the world who believe in the Wok+Wine mission and want to step up as official ambassador in their city – running events on a monthly basis.
Also, I’d love to do a Wok+Wine for 1,000 people. I see huge potential for the corporate and private sectors – using the Wok+Wine formula to help teams/groups to engage more authentically.
If you like the sound of Wok+Wine and want to get involved, Peter would love to hear from you. If you just want to eat some damn good prawns, find out when your nearest event is being held here