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Top 10 Tips | How To Host A Supper Club

Top 10 Tips | How To Host A Supper Club

Hosting a supper club or food pop-up can be daunting… But fear not, as help is on hand, courtesy of some of our Tabl hosts and from Laura Jackson and Alice Levine, hosts of the East London Jackson & Levine supper clubs. I’m food and lifestyle blogger LilyLipstick, and here is what I’ve learned about hosting – distilled down into ten top tips:

1. Remember what you’re hosting

Supper clubs occupy the grey area between restaurant dining and a dinner party. At the former, you wouldn’t strike up a conversation with the diners on the next table but at the latter, chatting to new people is as big a part of the evening as the food. That said, diners are paying guests – so no asking them to help wash up at the end of the night. Oh, and make sure they’re entertained!

2. Practice your dishes ahead

No cooking a new dish on the night! Give yourself more than enough time to get everything ready; a relaxed host will make the experience much more enjoyable for guests. Always prepare more food that you think you need, as big sharing dishes and second helpings add to the intimacy – Jackson & Levine favour plentiful unfussy food to get their guests bonding.

3. Be prepared for dietary requirements

Jesse Dunford Wood, host of Tabl launch event, Stimulating The Senses, advises being prepared for the vegetarians and gluten-free diners. Even if you have asked for dietary requirements in advance as part of your epic planning – Radka Junova of Take Your Taste Buds On Holiday suggests asking several times to be sure – there will always be curve balls on the night. Alternatives are essential.

4. When shopping for ingredients, never pay full price

Always bargain with local butchers and greengrocers, pick unusual, inexpensive cuts of meat and go for wild ingredients like fennel pollen or forage for berries. Take advantage and serve seasonal food, using this as your your inspiration when menu planning. Keep it balanced, too – a rich main needs to be offset by a lighter dessert.

5. Embrace your supper club as a passion project

You’re not going to make your millions from small-scale dining, but it will be extremely rewarding and a great way to make like-minded friends, just like Laura Lockington at her Bookish Super Salon events. Friendships, business partners and even romance have all resulted from supper clubs – think of the potential!

6. Think practically

Who will greet your guests if you’re busy in the kitchen? Where will coats and bags be kept? Radka advises using professional and enthusiast staff whereas Jackson & Levine enlist willing friends in exchange for foodie gifts. Provide guests with enough information to make things easy for them, even if the menu is going to be a surprise.

7. Plan your venue

Jesse prioritises finding a wonderful venue for his supper clubs; hosting at home is an option if you have the space. Be courteous to your neighbours and warn them first – or invite them along. Alternatively, speak to cafés in your area which are closed in the evenings, explore your local area and think creatively!

8. Remember the small print

Alcohol licensing laws mean no charging guests for tipples, but you can make your supper club BYO. If guests are bringing booze, make sure you have fridge space to keep them chilled.

9. Little touches are important

Print out menus, find unusual table decorations and tidy the space, because people will be Instagramming everything. Jackson & Levine collect vintage charity shop crockery for a shabby-chic look. If like Laura your supper club is themed, then get creative with the place settings and menus accordingly.

10. Have fun!

Don’t be so busy in the kitchen that you forget to enjoy yourself with your guests. Radka describes hosting as “addictive” despite the nerves before an event – supper clubs are a great chance to share your passion and enthusiasm for food with your guests and to provide them with an unforgettable experience.

Well, I think I’m ready to host after those…now who wants to come along to my first supper club?!