The Power of a Potluck

MealTribes: The Power of a Potluck

 Dylan Nunn and Michael Ledecky

Dylan Nunn and Michael Ledecky

Eight months ago, through a spontaneous email I sent looking for web design help, I met Jared. Jared is a 5 footish gingerly gentleman with a contagious smile, that I could literally feel THROUGH the phone! After one of his coined “10 min intro calls”, we came to the conclusion that I had no money so, we agreed food would act as the payment. I scavenged through my parents’ recipes to find one of my favorites: a Lamb Rice Pilaf. After the website was finished and the pilaf consumed, Jared invited me to join in one of his potluck dinner parties that he organizes every once in a while.

“Sitting down to a dinner table with an overly friendly web-designer and a bunch of people I don’t know? Of course!”

I was hooked, this was my chance to bust out another delicious dish and meet some new people. At this point, I really looked up to Jared. He had given me book suggestions, designed my website and introduced me to a new social group in a matter of days. After more calls and getting to know each other, it seemed only natural that we were starting a business together.

MealTribes is a one of a kind potluck dinner club hosted in various homes in the DC area. With our co-founders Cammie Wolf and Marin Galvin, we are on a mission to strengthen DC dinner parties.

Our concept is not a new one. Humans have been naturally forming tribes to share food + ideas (…and survive) for tens of thousands of years. But in recent history, we’ve lost that feeling. While we may be able to go a day without working out or sleeping we can’t go on without eating.
MealTribes was created to help us get back to our roots of what makes us feel alive and human: eating together, connecting with new people, and sharing new ideas — right in peoples’ homes.

This is the most excitement you could ever get during a meal with strangers. Potlucks are special! When everyone brings something to the table, we all feel ownership over the completeness of the experience. What’s up for grabs? It’s the opportunity to make the dinner party outstanding for one another by putting thought into what you bring to the table.

A potluck can be a platform for showcasing raw cooking talents and it can be a platform for having meaningful conversation and generating new ideas.

Our values at MealTribes;

  1. Open your doors; trust in the collective and allow for vulnerability
  2. Be authentic; help cultivate the integrity of the tribe
  3. Be present; fully engage in the little moments
  4. Elevate your connections; challenge, inspire and rise others
  5. Come hungry; leave full of meaningful conversations and genuine experiences


When new diners sit down to a full meal in a spectacular home their reactions are priceless. A table filled with lots of colorful dishes makes everyone feel warm inside. I remember I was stunned when one of our dinner party hosts, Jay Vilar, pulled out of his freezer, a homemade pistachio ice cream. The dessert left me with such a sweet sense of euphoria, complimented with a riveting discussion on race, music, and religion. In our eyes, hosts are hero’s! A MealTribes event can quite literally be powerful because you are adding unique social capital to your personal brand through the interactions with others. And you get to set the mood for the night!

I love interacting with different groups of people, so when I host a MealTribes dinner, it’s my chance to introduce those connections to each other.

The key here is becoming that one friend that u know knows all the right people who can get you what you want. I always get so stoked when my friends end up getting along with each other and then end up collaborating on a future projects. For everyone sitting at the table you’re viewed as the essential character that has facilitated the meal, and brought everyone together . That host/connector status is very valuable in any community or organization.

The power is in our ability to cultivate real connections with people you always thought should meet and the people you’ve yet to meet…