I WAS RAISED IN A FAMILY where meals were an event and the more people you shared with, the better. You didn’t even have to know those people well. Just pull up a chair and fill your plate; by the time after-dinner drinks are poured, you’ve shared an experience much more than a meal.
Guy Michlin, co-founder of EatWith.com, subscribes to the philosophy that more people around a table means a better meal, and that sometimes the food isn’t the most important part. In 2010, after one too many nights of souvlaki while on vacation in Crete, a friend of a friend set up a dinner for Guy with the Papadakis family in a Cretan suburb. Together, they shared makaronia with kreas vodino and tiri athotiro (spaghetti with beef and a local Cretan cheese) in a small two-bedroom apartment. Guy left the four-hour dinner with a bottle of local Cretan liquor (which he still has…though emptied) and an idea: He wanted to create a community of enthusiastic guests and passionate hosts that would allow travelers to connect in new ways with locals in countries around the world.