Can cook, will cook … but no venue?

Brian Morgan shares some options for those who have the culinary skills, but who aren’t ready to add their home to the growing list of underground restaurants.

If the thought of having ten or a dozen people eating your food in your home sounds just a bit too scary at the moment, then it’s well worth considering other options. Let’s look at some other ways to host a supper club where your culinary skills can be shown off without using your home as the hub.

Let’s start with cafés. They might have all the facilities and food hygiene criteria that you need but being a daytime business relying on walk-in trade, they wouldn’t normally consider opening in the evening. However, for a special occasion like a club dinner where the customers are pre-booked and the food has the flair of a ‘guest chef’, it could be the perfect collaboration for you both. It's a quirky venue too. Add a little music, and those paper table mats and plastic containers could be a perfect contrast to the quality of food.

You might equally know of a local village or community hall, where kitchen facilities are usually available and they meet all the normal food hygiene criteria. Village halls can usually be rented out very economically and you may find that there are volunteer staff willing to lend a hand too.

What about using the house of a friend? The attraction from their point of view is to have an interesting dinner party with new faces, not to mention some excellent food. You might have to give a couple of concessionary meals away as your reward to them, as well as involve your friends in the process of selecting guests; it’s their home after all. A nice thought is to take the dishes away and wash them off site.

Going one step further, someone you know may have an interesting business location which could also act as a venue for a meal. If bringing people to the location creates awareness of their business, then you have the makings of a great collaboration. Examples of this include galleries, equine centres and book shops. There’s the added challenge of sourcing the necessary equipment and the possibly doing some cooking on it, but as the say, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Rebecca Taylor runs an equine therapy business and collaborates with her friend, Karen who cooks. By bringing people to The Haven, which is her place of work, she also raises awareness of her work as a counsellor. As the name suggests, it happens to be a beautiful and isolated spot but it has facilities too. Rebecca transforms a stable into a temporary dining room with guests sitting on hay bales, and then she adds a further twist. Guests meet up at a local country pub and then to relocate to their dining venue, they go on a short walk through the countryside. This is a great way to get to know people before you sit down and share a meal.

Those are just three of the successful approaches you could take to turning your supper club dreams into tasty, enjoyable reality without using your home as the venue. Hosting and organising with JoinaSupperClub opens up so many opportunities for you to meet with and eat with the sort of people you want to be with. You set the parameters, and you don’t even have to let your home place limitations on the event.

Brian Morgan is an accomplished cook and a member of www.joinasupperclub.com who enjoys socialising and taking his time over preparing food for friends.