A BUDDING foodie from Darwen is set to start a social eating revolution in the town by opening up her home to strangers.

Maria Grieco, of Thompson Street, is advertising her culinary talents online and inviting strangers to join a series of dinner parties in a bid to raise money for charity.


Ms Grieco came up with the idea after she started cooking meals for family, friends and local people to raise money for Scotland’s Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which treated her sister’s mother-in-law before she died of a brain tumour.

The 50-year-old, who calls her venture Dinner@Marias, raised around £1,500 through hosting the dinners, which is part of a movement popular in large cities such as London.

But since discovering WeFiFo, a company that helps home cooks to turn their kitchen tables into restaurants, she has decided to take this to the next level.

Ms Grieco will now be widely advertising her dinner parties on the WeFiFo website in the hope that she can encourage the whole town to eat more socially.

She said: “The idea for hosting these dinner parties came from two places really, I wanted to raise money for the ward which treated my sister’s partner’s mum who died of a brain tumour.

“The usual way of doing this would be to take part in a sponsored event and wave a sponsorship form under people’s noses, but when I went to eat dinner with my partner Alan I got inspired after seeing how many people didn’t talk to each other when out at a restaurant and it can be very expensive.

“It struck me that instead of getting people to sponsor me I could host dinner parties and get people to pay £15 or £20.

“That way people would feel like they were getting something out of it too, and then when WiFiFo came about I thought I would bring this to a wider audience.

“It might seem strange to start it in a small town like Darwen, but the revolution has to start somewhere.”

The next event at Ms Grieco’s house at 40 Thompson Street, which is fully booked, will be on Friday, June 10, at 7pm, where she will be serving Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food.

There will also be an event taking place on Friday, June 17, at 7pm.

If you would like to find out more information and book a place at the table visit www.wefifo.com.