What We’re Loving: IfOnly Experiences

Get the experience of a lifetime and tips from Thomas McNaughton
photo by Eric Wolfinger

Thomas McNaughton hard at work.

Imagine yourself standing in your favorite chef’s kitchen. Better yet, imagine your all-time favorite chef standing in your kitchen, preparing your dinner parties’ meal. With the new online charitable platform IfOnly, you could have that very opportunity.

The experiences range from conservative to the lavish, and start at $35. For every item or experience sold, at least 10 percent of the fee is donated to the luminary’s charity of choice, however, the average donation to charity is between 65 percent and 70 percent. From private dinners prepared by Michelin-starred chefs to Napa Valley helicopter wine tasting tours led by legendary winemakers, members can personalize and experience things to only their imagination (and pocket’s) limitations.

Trevor Traina, CEO and founder of IfOnly.com  says, "I created IfOnly to delight and inspire by connecting people directly with the world's greatest talents so that they can have the experiences of their dreams — the ones that enrich your life, create memories, and define who you are." 

One particularly exciting experience leads you to the door of Thomas McNaughton of San Francisco restaurant Flour + Water. You could have the opportunity to take an intimate pasta-making class, join him at his favorite farm, Devil’s Gulch, and even a private dinner. One thing is for sure: McNaughton knows how to show his guests a good time. Here are some tips he offers for those who are planning a soirée:

Enjoy every minute
Every party is better with a drink in hand; the key to getting out the kitchen is planning ahead and creating a menu that can be prepared ahead of time and that way you look like a rock star for pulling it all off.

Make it an experience
Get your guests involved with an interactive cooking event. It’s great to throw a party where everyone plays a part in the final result. Teach guests how to stretch their own dough and provide ingredients to make personal pizzas or pull out a rolling pin and a pasta machine and create your own pasta shapes with sauces to go along with them. Whatever the experience is, guests will leave with great memories from the evening!

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It’s all about the bar
A well-stocked bar keeps guests happy and the party going well into the evening. Set a bar with all of the accompaniments needed to create common cocktails, as well as chilled white wine, a not-so-heavy red, and a seasonal specialty cocktail for all guests to experiment with. Guests should be able to serve themselves and there should enough stocked to ensure the host can sit back and relax knowing they don’t have to worry about running out.