Host Story: Kate and Jason Groob
What’s it like to host a Friday night dinner with OneTable? Every so often, we’ll pose that question to some of our hosts, so you can see the range of experiences that bring people to our table. These stories will provide an inside look into how their lives and the being a guest or a host allows them to take a moment to slow down, be present, and enjoy the best of life with the people at their table.
Kate and Jason Groob are practically newlyweds, married just under two years, who live in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights. They met at a Shabbat dinner given by friends – always a good sign!
What made you guys want to host?
We like bringing our friends together whenever possible. Some of our friends have experience with Shabbat, and some don’t. We thought it’d be nice for friends to get a sense of what it is — or what it can be.
How many OneTable supported dinners did you attend as a guest before you hosted your first one?
We were part of the pilot program, so we were hosts before we were guests.
So, how many have you hosted?
We’ve hosted four OneTable dinners. We’d like to host more frequently, but to host a big meal, we like to have Thursday evening for prep as well as Saturday to clean up, and that combination has been hard to come by. We should really consider doing one of OneTable’s delivery options through their approved vendors, but home cooking is kind of our thing.
What are your Friday nights like when you’re not with OneTable?
Most of the time, especially if it’s just the two of us unwinding after a long week of work, we have more of a nod to Shabbat and a toast over our drinks and feast. However, we actually met at a Shabbat dinner, at our downtown Jew Crew scene on the Lower East Side, and sometimes we’ll travel back downtown for a Friday night dinner.
What did you serve at your first OneTable dinner?
The first one was fajita night. We grilled some steak and made a fajita bar with all the fixings so our guests could build their own fajitas. Jason typically prepares the main course, while I make dessert – that night, it was chocolate truffles.
How much time did you spend planning it?
Once we came up with a theme, it was pretty quick to plan. I probably made the event page online during my lunch break.
Do you always pick a theme for the evening?
We typically like to have a theme, as that focuses our menu and gets our guests excited. Since our friends are so scattered across the city, we want to make our meals enticing and memorable so they feel it’s worth the trip. We’ve had fajita night, pasta night, pizza night, and burger night à la Bob’s Burgers. We even dressed up like Bob and Linda from the cartoon for that one.
What special décor touches did you make?
I like to serve the food on our wedding china and with a tablecloth, runner, placemats, and all the other stuff we registered for. Of course, for Bob’s Burgers night, we used diner-style paper plates and napkins. We often have to banish our Shabbat candles to our credenza, since table real estate can get tight.
Were you nervous beforehand?
Not about having our friends over. We were more nervous about receiving the groceries in time and about being able to cook a full dinner and serve it at a reasonable hour after a full day of work. But we’ve had success so far.
Do you host a lot, or was this new to you?
We didn’t host Shabbat dinners very often, but we host a second night Passover Seder every year, and we sometimes host on weekends.
What was the worst moment – most nervous, most awkward, something you had to smooth over or fix? How did you handle it?
We’re still figuring out our new kitchen, so when Jason was cooking the meat for the fajitas, the kitchen became enveloped in smoke. I had to send everyone out to the balcony and open all the windows to air out the living room / dining room, which adjoins the kitchen (it’s New York City — all rooms are multipurpose).
What was the best moment – what crystallized the evening for you?
When we finished the mad dash to cook dinner and sat down to eat with our friends.
How is our OneTable night different from all other nights?
When we host a OneTable dinner, I like to serve homemade challah (sometimes made in advance and frozen, or sometimes baked late Thursday night, including one midnight challah baking session). We light the candles, we say the blessings over the wine and the challah, and sometimes we’ll ask our guests to reflect on their weeks.
Will you do it again?
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