Why Would Anyone Go to a Restaurant Where You Have to Cook Your Own Damn Meals?

Image via Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

Ikea has recently unveiled plans for The Dining Club, a restaurant in Shoreditch, London where diners can, under the supervision of a chef, cook dinner for a large party of friends. What’s next? A warehouse style furniture store where you’re forced to spend the entire day walking around and fighting with your significant other?


According to Mashable, The Dining Club is “a ‘Do-It-Yourself Restaurant,’ in which diners will be the chefs. Anyone attending IKEA’s ‘Dining Club’ will be able to cook a meal for up to 19 pals under the supervision of a head chef.”

“We bond and connect over the everyday process of cooking meals together so to celebrate this firmly held belief, we are opening The Dining Club to bring people together to enjoy a meal from beginning to end,” says Ikea commercial manager Ellie Pniok. “This will take place in an environment that reflects a homely kitchen, so you can host a dinner party for all of your friends.”

Well, let me tell you—this, a long with every other “do-it-yourself” dining trend that pops up is a SHAM and a SHAME.

I do not go to restaurants to cook food. Often I don’t even go to eat food. I go because the LORD IN HEAVEN who created me happened to curse me with a freaking appetite and I also happen to be profoundly lazy.

Imagine, if you will, the following scene:

You walk into a restaurant and are seated by a charming maitre d’. Is s/he flirting with you? Only if the tip is right! (What a rogue.) You hear flurry of activity to your right. Why, it’s a Baldwin brother and his entourage! Dang, this really is the hottest spot in the Indianapolis area! The waiter comes and asks you for your order—naturally you choose the filet mignon—and he nods with a curt “But of course, madame.”

Minutes later, he returns with a raw steak in hand and lights your table cloth on fire.

“Cook it yourself, gutter pig,” he says, tossing the bloody steak in your lap.

The Baldwin and his friends are laughing at you. Even the maitre d’ sneers. Everyone in the joint starts hissing and booing, so—eyes brimming with tears you begin cooking your steak on your smoldering table.

“Now eat it,” says a new voice. It’s the head chef. He is a James Beard winner. “I wanna watch you eat your stink.”

The room starts to chant “EAT EAT EAT EAT,” so with heavy heart, you take a bite of your creation. It’s bad because, unlike a chef, cooking is not your professional job.

“That will be $60,” the waiter says. You pay your bill and leave.

Sound bad? Well, welcome to the scourge that’s DIY restaurants, babe. The specials may change, but the menu items are always the same: blood, sweat, and tears.

Managing Editor, Jezebel



Counterpoint: a dinner party where I have an expert set of helping hands, don’t have to clean my place beforehand, and no dishes afterward? Sign me up!