What We Do
The Shalon came from a love of uniting people in order to empower us all. When people come together at the table to share ideas and to focus on understanding, we are able to pool our collective passions and strengths to make change.
After a long work week, the Shalon offers community, inspiration and nourishment - enabling each of us to step away from our daily responsibilities and focus on an issue larger than ourselves. As we enjoy incredible food and drinks, we are encouraged to open our hearts and our minds to what is happening around us. Each Shalon is led by moderators who encourage us to ask questions, share our thoughts and identify the ways we'd like to get involved.
Each conversation is just a beginning; an opportunity to be educated, to open up to possibilities not yet considered and to commit to something that matters to each of us.
How it started
For as long as I can remember, I have loved bringing people together. I am energized by hosting meals, club meetings, strategy sessions, movie marathons, slumber parties... you name it, I'm interested. I started hosting Friday night dinners, based on my family's Shabbat dinners growing up, for my friends a couple years ago. These evenings were an excellent way to bring different people together, to unwind and to share our stories. As I listened to poeple connect, I realized that the dinners could be so much more. Each guest at the table had so much information and passion to share about topics that were important to them. Why couldn't I formalize a process to focus on topics that impacted my friends, neighbors and city at large and help people drive change where they felt it was most needed? There was nothing to stop me, and the first official Shalon was born in January 2017.
CHEF NICOLE RUIZ HUDSON
Nicole is a food and drink writer and educator currently living in Oakland, California. She is at her happiest when nibbling, sipping, and hiking her way through new places. Above all, she loves how wine makes friends.
These loves started early. She grew up around the hotel industry and has lived all around the U.S. as well as Valencia, Venezuela, where she had free room service for two amazing years in high school. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles until thoughts of food and wine got the better of her. Upon moving to New York City, she made the switch and went to culinary school at the International Culinary Center, following it up with a WSET Diploma and Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She spent three years in the Tasting Department at Wine Spectator in New York, and is now extremely excited to be back in California.
You can find her recipes with wine pairings regularly on WineSpectator.com, plus more food and travel adventures on her blog, NibblingGypsy.com, as well as on her latest project, SommsTable.com. She also contributes regularly to BayArea.com and you can find her restaurant reviews on the Zipkick App.
Instagram: @NibblingGypsy & @TheSommsTable
Chef Brenden Darby
Brenden is a young farm focused chef and entrepreneur who has worked around the world from Michelin’s star restaurants like Noma, Manresa, Arzak to small remote villages in Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and Peru. His new venture www.NoBullFood.com is focused on providing easy to cook meals through small scale farms that empower communities