Throughout my life I have struggled with social interactions due to having social anxiety. The past couple of years or so I have been putting in a lot of extra effort to grow friendships with the many lovely people in my life. At the beginning of 2018, I decided to keep on with my current efforts and to also try and seek out new social situations and events in order to meet fantastic new people and get myself out of my comfort zone. One day I was perusing Facebook as I usually do and came across an ad for Kinza. The ad seemed quite interesting and sounded like the perfect type of social event to get me interacting with new people. After checking out Kinza's site and seeing that they were currently offering the chance to either attend or host a local dinner party that featured food from various cultures, I was sold. I am a born and bred Torontonian and proud to live in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and was elated to see that Kinza fully champions all the beautiful diversity here in Toronto.
Before attending the dinner I definitely worried if this type of event was too far out of my comfort zone. I ultimately decided that I was going to keep my pledge to myself to try new and exciting things and keep an open mind. After now attending my first Kinza dinner, I can say with great ease that keeping an open mind was absolutely worth it. The meal was centred on the bold and fresh flavours of Finnish cuisine,and I was amply excited to sample delicacies from Finland for the very first time. We started off our “Finnish Villagers” feast with some some delectable traditional Finnish meatballs, paired with fresh herbed cheese bread. (Lihapullat). For the main course we warmed ourselves up from the chilly, rainy night with some scrumptious creamy salmon soup (Lohikeitto) with vegetables. We ended our inspired Finnish cuisine journey on the perfect sweet note with ice cream and tea. The food was plentiful, bountiful and simply delicious.
I exceptionally enjoyed getting to meet and chat with my fellow dinner guests. Kinza co-founder Kate was the chef and main host for the night and was utterly charming and an absolute delight to chat with. Sachin, Kinza's other co-founder was also on hand to co-host, and he like Kate was a splendid host and utter joy to converse with. The guests for the evening turned out to be 3 fellow strong and opinionated women . I had an absolute joyous time chatting with them about ourselves, food, politics, and just about everything in between. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Kate, Sachin, and the three lovely ladies throughout the night. It was immensely engrossing to hear everyone's unique stories and insights, and bond over a mutual love and respect for great food and even better conversation. As the night progressed, I thought less and less about any notions of feeling “awkward” or “out of place” about being being myself, and before I knew it realized I had spent more than 3 hours engrossed in sharing a fantastic meal with some amazing new friends. My first Kinza dinner could absolutely not have been a better way to spend a Sunday night, and end a long week.
Toronto is a city that is brimming with diverse and vibrant cultures and people. Whether you have social anxiety like myself or not, it can be intimidating to get out there and meet new and lovely people. I cannot recommend enough to keep an open mind, throw some carefully thought out caution to the wind and put yourself out there to meet new people in this spectacular city. I could not be happier that I took the plunge and pushed myself to attend my first Kinza event and have the opportunity to meet some of the amazing people that Toronto has to offer.
S (Kinza Guest)