A Night At Ted And Amy's Supper Club

For those who love food, enjoy throwing parties, and are looking for a way to bring together new and old friends, have you ever considered starting a supper club?

It's something that Kara Masi, a young professional in New York City, did with the help of a friend in 2008. Based out of a garden-level brownstone, hundreds of friends and strangers have since gathered around the table at Ted and Amy's Supper Club. While Masi is no trained chef, she certainly knows her way around the kitchen. Moreover, she has an undeniable gift for bringing complete strangers together for a truly memorable meal.

I recently had the chance to attend one of the "supper club" meals at Ted and Amy's. I was not sure what to expect — something along the lines of a dinner party with me being the lone duck in a sea of old friends? Or a gathering of strangers under the guise of a get-together set in a garden? I attended a Turkish-themed gathering prepared by chef Eric Sherman and the sisters behind Husnu's olive oil, partly because I love olive oil — and it sounded delicious.

Stepping in through the front door, not marked with any signs, I hesitated. Is this the right spot? With lights aglow inside and our evening's chef working in the kitchen, something told me this was the spot (and if I ended up walking in on someone else's party, would it really be that bad?). I quickly learned that the real party was out back in the spacious, tree-lined garden all aglow with string lights. I arrived fashionably late, so there were quite a few guests already mingling, conversation effortlessly flowing. Tables were spread out under the trees, each covered with plates of eggplant salad, dips, flatbreads, and cheese-stuffed rolls called böreks meant for enjoying small plates-style, like you would an appetizer spread or mezze. And new food, from lamb and chicken kebabs to a hearty cucumber, tomato, and feta salad, continued to be served throughout the night.

As I helped myself to a glass of rose, another duo arrived behind me. "So how did you hear about Ted and Amy's?" we each awkwardly asked. It was the icebreaker of the night, as would be expected at a gathering of strangers. But unlike some dinner parties, where the conversation might feel forced simply because guests are there because the host invited them, the experience here was quite the opposite. Whether it was because of a love for food, a love for meeting new people, or all of the above, guests we were there because we wanted to be there. And if the endless chatter that lasted until the wee hours of the morning was any indicator, the guests each enjoyed the evening immensely.

In creating Ted and Amy's, Masi wasn't just looking for an excuse to throw a party, have a good time, and have her guests help share the costs — quite the opposite. Masi was looking to inspire people to cook at home, getting guests like me to think "If she can come home from her demanding nine-to-five job and host a dinner for 20, why can't I?" Her learning-by-experiencing approach is evident just by looking at the recent calendar, with guest chefs specializing in different cuisines preparing the meal some nights and classes on others. And for around $50 a ticket, it's also a deal that can't be beat for the guest, too. Great food, good company, and a chance to make new friends?

To learn more about Ted and Amy's Supper Club (and why it's called Ted and Amy's) and upcoming classes, visit the website here.

Want to start a supper club of your own? Read our tips and advice here.