The first instance of dark dining occurred in Paris in 1997, and was setup by Michel Reilhac with the name “Le gout du noir”. It wasn’t until 1999 that the first permanent dark dining restaurant was established in Zurich, Switzerland. Dark dining consists of a meal where the patrons are in complete darkness and can’t see anything that they are eating. The idea behind this unique experience is that without the visual component of the meal, other senses will be heightened and increase gastronomic pleasure. Most dark dining restaurants are set up in such a way that there is absolutely no light allowed, even from cell phones or cameras, while others simply blindfold the patrons prior to the beginning of the meal. In many cases restaurants will employ blind or visually impaired servers because they have the skills to function well without sight.
Dark dining is an experience that has gained popularity on a global scale since its start 20 years ago. “Informed”, a series distributed to Public Television PBS Member stations, is hosted by Rob Lowe.