Carmel woman helps Le Dîner en Blanc make Indianapolis debut


Le Dîner en Blanc, a worldwide chic dining event, will make its Indianapolis debut this month, thanks in part to longtime Carmel resident Jessica Brand.

Brand’s company, Emerald Street Creative LLC, applied for the licensing in 2017 and was granted it this year. Brand co-owns the company with Indianapolis residents Amber Clarke and Dr. Katasha Butler.

“Several people over the course of the last five years (have tried) to bring it to Indianapolis and they’ve turned them down, so we were very pleased to be chosen,” Brand said.

The posh picnic dinner is set for the evening of Sept. 28 in Indianapolis. Guests, all dressed in white from head to toe, meet at different locations.

“You don’t know where you are going until you get on a bus,” Brand said. “The whole concept is to meet new people, see old friends, have fabulous food and good beverages.”

Thirty years ago, the original host, Francios Pasquier, came up with the idea after he moved from Paris and returned to the city.

“He decided he wanted to host a party on his return but his garden wasn’t big enough, so he picked a big park not far from his home,” Brand said. “To identify one another they would wear all white. What the motto became of this was bring a dish, bring a friend.”

Pasquier’s son, Aymeric, decided to turn it into a business and held the first one outside Paris in Montreal in 2009. The first one in the U.S. was in New York in 2011. It’s grown to 80 cities in 30 nations.

“We come from different backgrounds but all have some experience with event planning for many, many years,”Brand said. “We are bringing expertise into this. Clarke had been a teacher and event planner for 10 years. Dr. Butler, despite being a pharmacist by trade, owns an event-planning company in Danville, Ill. She owns a building that people can use for weddings and parties. I have been a national director for marketing and planning for more than 20 years.”

Brand said the three women have been to the events in New Orleans and Chicago.

Because this is the first year, the Indianapolis event is capped at 1,500 guests by the international group.

“This will be the smallest year, but Le Dîner en Blanc wants to make sure we are keeping integrity with the name,” Brand said. “It’s all about consistency.”

The cost for the international fee to become a member is $18 and tickets are sold in pairs for $86. There are options for food or wine purchase. Guests can bring their own French picnic food. Guests must bring their own table, chairs, dishes and tablescapes.

Ticket costs cover space and transportation. For more, visit [email protected].