A year ago the York County Economic Alliance partnered with Downtown Inc to find out what people wanted to see more of in York City.
More than half of the survey respondents said they wanted more ethnic food, according to Aeman Bashir, manager of small business development for the alliance.
Bashir is also an organizer for YorKitchen, a shared commercial kitchen behind Central Market that is working to provide that ethnic food with its new Passport to Flavors series.
About 20 people showed up Saturday for the downtown venue's first event in the series. Depending on whether or not they chose a vegetarian meal, the guests paid $40 or $45 for a three-course Malaysian meal. The meal was prepared by Sharmini Goins, who owns Sharmini's Kitchen, a local catering business and professional chef service.
"It was more like a dinner party," Bashir said. "It was very intimate and interactive, and all the guests sat at one large table with the chef."
Malaysian music played as Goins, who was born and raised in Malaysia, talked about the country's native fruits and other cultural elements of food preparation.
"It was as much a cultural interaction as it was a dinner," Bashir said.
The goal is for YorKitchen to host five similar events each year, she said.
The next event in the series will be held Saturday, March 23 when Teresa Sellers, who owns Danika's Catering, will serve a four-course Polish meal.
Because the price of her dinner ingredients are cheaper and more readily available, the tickets will be a little cheaper than the first event's at $34 and $38. Tickets can be purchased at www.yorkitchen.com.
After that, the next event will be held Saturday, May 18 and will include an Indian dinner prepared by the Shadrach family, which owns the Art & Framing Warehouse, 147 W. Philadelphia St. in York City. Prices have not been determined for the dinner.
Though the dates haven't been set yet, the final two dinners of the year will likely include Pakastani and West African themes, Bashir said.
"The first dinner went very well and we're looking forward to the rest," she said.
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