Chef David Burke’s ‘Dinner in the Dark’ to benefit New Jersey Blind Citizens Association

Chef David Burke recently cooked up a culinary five-course guided sensory experience, “Dinner in the Dark,” at two of his local restaurants, the Red Horse by David Burke in Rumson and the GOAT by David Burke in Union Beach.

The next installment of the dinner seatings at the GOAT will see a percentage of the proceeds benefit the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association and its programs.

Tickets for the Oct. 12 dinner are $100 per person and are available online here.

NJBCA is celebrating 113 years of service to the blind, visually impaired and those with deteriorating vision.

It is the organization’s passion to be able to continue on their journey of unlocking opportunities, opening doors and fostering an atmosphere of confidence, empowerment and community for their “campers” at their facilities in Leonardo, known as Camp Happiness.

Founded in 1910, this nonprofit, nonsectarian, tax-exempt organization offers free services to the blind and visually impaired community with a mission is to enhance the quality of life for the blind and visually impaired through education, socialization and fostering an environment of hope and purpose.

After being shut down during COVID in 2021, the organization brought in a nonprofit specialist, Sarah Thoma, as its new executive director, to restart programs and bring the organization back to life. Today, with the aid of a small staff and a few volunteers, it now has a handicapped-accessible facility, runs multiple programs each week, provides meals and food, program transportation to the “campers” and acts as a resource around the state for the visually impaired community it serves. Some “campers” recently won awards for their artwork at the Monmouth County Fair.

At “Dinner in the Dark,” guests are blindfolded and guided through a four-course dinner paired with signature cocktails and wines by Burke and his experienced culinary team. By taking away one of their senses, Burke shows his guests how to tune into their other senses. The experience has been called “very different, surprisingly social, mind-blowing, delicious and overall a lot of fun.”

All past “Dinner in the Dark” events have been sellouts.

Years ago, NJBCA once held blindfolded dinners to give the family and friends of their community a sense as to what it is like to be visually impaired. So, after hearing about Chef Burke’s “Dinners in the Dark” events, Thoma asked Burke to hold a dinner to benefit NJBCA and simultaneously raise funds and awareness about NJBCA’s programs and “campers.”