9 Easy Steps to Starting a Supper Club

Host you own series of dinner parties with seasoned advice from a pro

Have you always wanted to start a supper club? Whether you’re bringing together friends or looking to make new ones, there are lots of things to consider when beginning your own. We’ve put together some simple tips, along with advice from a seasoned supper club host, Kara Masi, to get you started.

 

1. Choose your style. Ted and Amy’s brings people together for a restaurant-style meal or cooking class. Other clubs are monthly gatherings of friends where the host (and where the party takes place) rotates. Will your meal be themed, like a potluck, or will there be an educational or take-home element, like a soup-exchange or cooking class?

 

2. Decide on who is hosting and who is cooking. At Ted and Amy’s, Masi did both the hosting and the cooking when she was getting started, but as you are the one opening your home to guests, it need not always be the case. The host can supply beverages while all or some guests can be in charge of cooking or bringing food.

 

3. Who are your guests? For some, you may already have enough people who you want to invite. But expanding your list of regular guests can be as easy as asking your friends to bring friends, or by putting up a note at your local gourmet food shop or farm stand. You might also want to consider if you want only couples or just men or women in attendance.

 

4. Communication. Determine in advance how menu and event notices will be distributed to members. Will you use email or phone? Who will be in charge of notifying everyone and managing the calendar of events and RSVPs? It is easier if one person acts as the contact person.

5. Why gather? When starting a supper club, consider whether you want to achieve at each event or learn something over time. Some clubs are a fun way to meet new people. With Ted and Amy’s, Masi looks to get her guests excited and comfortable about cooking (and entertaining) at home. For moms looking to expand their family meal options, supper clubs are a great place to source and vet new menu ideas in a social setting. Other ideas include discussing a book or magazine article, gathering to share an activity like knitting together, wine tasting, or adding a competitive, Iron Chef or Top Chef-style element.

 

6. Pay in advance. Be sure to decide on how the costs of your meal are going to be split up in advance and ask guests to pay before the day of the event. According to Masi, not only is it awkward for the host to chase after guests the night of the party, but it also gives the him/her peace of mind when it comes to covering costs should a guest cancel.

 

7. Inventory your pantry. If you’re going to be hosting a supper club on a regular basis, you probably aren’t going to want to pull out the fine crystal wine glasses or your family heirloom plates. Stores like IKEA and Cost Plus World Market are great places to get good dish and glassware, as well as table linens and accessories, for low cost. Masi is also a fan of restaurant supply stores where you can get big pots and other kitchen supplies at a discount.

 

8. Find a helping hand. Just as with a regular party, having a partner in crime to help you plan, execute, and clean up after the dinner makes it easier on the host, says Masi (plus it’s more fun).

 

9. Don’t forget a take-home. Even if the evening was a memorable one, leave an extra sweet taste in your guests’ mouths by sending them home with a small memento or gift. Have more than enough food? Pack up the extra into takeout boxes for guests to enjoy later. You can also create recipe cards so that guests to recreate their favorite dishes at home. Jars of homemade jam or pickles, even olive oil, are also great option.

Click here for more tips on equipping your kitchen and planning your supper club menu.

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