Wok+Wine is no ordinary concept. We are often confused with 'foodie' events but the fact that we serve excellent food and wine is about all we have in common. Our story is much deeper, more interesting and more thoughtful.
Founder: Peter Mandeno
Strategist, psychologist, storyteller, entrepreneur, traveler and master of serendipity Peter Mandeno has spent 20 years living and working across multiple continents and industries, looking at how we interact with the world and with each other. While the world was changing, we were not. In New York in 2009, Peter launched Wok+Wine a concept that would open his eyes, and the eyes of thousands of others, to the power of serendipity or as he describes it “finding the people we didn’t know we were looking for”.
Peter holds degrees in Psychology and Marketing Strategy from the University of Otago in New Zealand. He is a graduate of THNK - The School for Creative Leadership in Amsterdam and a Fellow of RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).
Peter has set up and run multiple businesses across the globe and is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities.
Concept: Simplicity and serendipity
The universal power of Wok+Wine lies in the thoughtfulness and simplicity of its design. The food and wine are amazing but that is not what this experience is about. The food and wine are simply key features of a complete experience where the primary objective is to create more authentic, more interesting and more meaningful connections between participants. Successfully executing more than 150 events in 11 countries has enabled us to fine-tune the concept to what it is today.
We use expressions like 'collective discomfort' and 'maximising collisions while minimising bottlenecks' to explain the design principles that underpin Wok+Wine. Each part of the concept has been thoughtfully considered to create the conditions in which participants feel open and able to speak to anyone about anything. We are firm believers in the power of simplicity. Experiences like these are not made more effective by adding things in but by leaving them out.
Origins: Networking was broken
Wok+Wine started in New York City as an antidote to siloes and filter bubbles. We live in a world in which the doorway to our next big opportunity is likely to be opened by an unlikely connection. It just doesn't make sense to network only with people who work in the same industry or have some demographic criteria (e.g. age, nationality, race) in common, yet so many people still do it. We wanted to fix that.
We wondered what would happen if a fashion designer, a chemist, a software engineer and an accountant (or any equally unlikely combination) were to come together for no apparent reason. The results have been remarkable.
Wok+Wine has featured in Harvard Business Review. That article does a great job of explaining the relevance and importance of the concept in helping individuals and organisations to succeed in a rapidly changing world.