Running a Student "Come Dine with Me"

As a postgraduate student it can sometimes be difficult to balance your finances with the desire to get out and socialise, but there is plenty that you can do without spending a fortune, like hosting a “Come Dine with Me” student night!

Most people have heard of the Channel 4 TV Show “Come Dine with Me” and many are choosing to host their very own version at home. It is an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with people whose company you enjoy and the event itself can be as frugal or expensive as you wish to make it.

The rules are quite simple:

1. Get a group of people together who are able to attend every meal.

2. Everyone puts together a menu plan, which they give a copy of to the other people involved, and they must stick to it once it’s been sent. Guests can specify if they have allergies or specific dietary requirements, e.g. if they are vegetarian, but they cannot try and change the menu simply because they do not like something on it.

3. No cheating! This means no getting help from other people, ordering takeaways or using ready meals.

4. Host needs to ensure that everyone has a great time.

5. At the end of each event, each guest will score the entire evening out of 10 and after the very last one a winner is named. You could all decide to put a couple of quid in a pot which the winner gets at the end, or you could just do it for fun and bragging rights.

You might decide to hook up with a small group of friends, or you could approach the Student Union and see if they fancy helping you arrange something on a bigger scale. A Student Union “Come Dine with Me” night could see a different team of students organising a menu and entertainment each week, with the winning team receiving a prize at the end. There could even be the added challenge of each group having a specific budget that will be used to feed all other participating teams and extra points added for those who spend the least amount per person, whilst providing an entertaining and delicious experience.

For a smaller event with friends, you might suggest that each person you invite brings someone with them who you have never met, which will have the potential to widen your social circle and also allows people to network with each other. One day a week, when it’s not your week to host, you will be eating at another student’s home, which has the benefit of saving you some money; although this only really applies if you don’t spend too much when it’s your turn to host the evening. No matter how your organise the “Come Dine with Me” experience, one huge positive is the chance to try a whole range of dishes that you may never have otherwise come across and the chef will probably be more than happy to give you the recipe to try out for yourself.

Entertainment is an important element to a successfully run evening and it does not need to be expensive or complicated - board games, card games, line dancing and playing “Truth or Dare” all have the ability to get people in a really sociable mood, especially with a few drinks inside them.

The most important factor, however, is simply to have fun with it, enjoy the time spent with your friends and hopefully make some new ones too.

Useful Links 5 ways to make postgrad cooking cheaper
Student saving tip: grow your own food
Student wellbeing
Succeed as a postgrad student

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