A majority of restaurants you go to follow the same format – you sit down by yourself or with your partner or whomever you may be with, eat and then leave. This is the tried and tested formula that has remained pretty much unchanged forever, which is fantastic if you like the person your dining with, but I’ve worked in enough restaurants and seen plenty of miserable looking couples to know that’s not always the case! We do things differently over at The Argentine Experience, not only do you all sit around 2 large banquet tables but you have at least 2 guides who’s entire focus is integrating people. I’ve recently started this myself so thought I’d share some insight into what our guided meals are all about
If you are naturally an extrovert then going to a party full of people you don’t know holds no fear for you, I’m sure you have no problem in introducing yourself and getting known quickly and being the life and soul of the room, but for the introverts out there it can be a complete nightmare! Walking up to a group of people you don’t know and just starting to talk can often take quite a lot of alcohol, and we all know that there is a fine line between dutch courage* and dutch d**khead! I’ve been in that situation myself, usually ending up the latter!
Having independently traveled and worked as an adventure tour leader for many years, Leon knows as well as anyone that integrating people than have different personalities together is key to making sure everybody has a great time and this experience has shaped how our guides have been trained. It can be quite daunting to arrive and sit with a table full of strangers and that is where our guides come into their own. Its our job to introduce everybody like a party host, ask the right questions and get people talking. “Oh you’ve just come from Iguazu Falls, so and so here is heading that way tomorrow, what did you think”, “You work as a lion tamer? Mark here sells wholesale whips and chairs..” Its this kind of very simple integration that quickly gets a quiet table into a table full of happy people talking! Everyone gets a chef’s hat and apron so as soon as you sit down, you go from a table full of individuals into a team, and its amazing how a simple touch such as this can bring everyone to the same level. Of course serving unlimited Malbec wine certainly helps!
A guides job doesn’t stop there either, as part of an Argentine experience dinner its also our job to teach you how to make empanadas, explain everything about Argentine beef and the other food you are eating, teach you all about the etiquette and preparation of mate, teach you about wines and generally explain everything about Argentine culture and answer any questions you have, from things you have seen to recommendations of things to do. We try and operate wherever possible with 2 guides, one tourist and one local, to give you both sides of the story – the things that come naturally to a local might seem very strange to a westerner so its good to have a tourist on hand to break it down. (Stop…Hammertime)
We hope that we have found, hired and trained some funniest and most entertaining people in BA, and between them we hope to give you all the most enjoyable experience we can. I have to say that as a guide, hosting the dinners is loads of fun, every group is different and keeping everybody entertained is really enjoyable. If you are living in Buenos Aires and think you have what it takes to entertain 30 people for 3 hours then give us a call! we are always looking for new guides to keep things fresh!
*Dutch courage refers to the courage you get from alcohol consumption, origins of the phrase come from drinking Dutch Gin