It occurs to me that I have not ever mentioned what inspired me to actually start doing this. For sometime I had been thinking of using my interest in cooking, theatre, books, films, art, travel, people and the world in general as a more integral part of my life and living and how can I forget travelling! 

I travelled to Buenos Aires for the first time in the winter of 2009 for about 5 weeks to learn tango and Spanish. And there lo and behold live and doing well is the tradition of 'puerta cerrada' or 'closed door' restaurants. Traditionally held in the homes of chefs where they have an intimate dinner for upto 30 depending on the venue. It is typically a prix-fixe, and they are sometimes able to accomodate dietary restrictions. I went to two; Dan Perlman's Casa Saltshaker (www.saltshaker.net ), and Diego Felix's Casa Felix (www.diegofelix.com ). Each is different but definitely they were both an inspiration to, and instrumental in my making the leap.

I returned to BsAs in the winter of 2010 and was given the opportunity to cook at both venues with promising results and a lot of encouragement. I also had the pleasure of leading two cooking workshops followed by dinner at Maria Benavidez's lovely home and backyard in the barrio of Villa Devoto (www.comerconamigos.blogspot.com). This finally gave me the push to start my own version with a twist in Toronto. So started Ronica Cooks and Ronica's Diwans.

Here is a link to an article Dan wrote on his site about other underground restaurants around the world. Enjoy, and thanks Dan, Diego and Maria for inspiration.

http://www.saltshaker.net/underground-dining-scene