Veganism—put simply, the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products—is on the rise, and perhaps nowhere is it more visible than in New York City. (Then again, I’m vegan and I live here, so I’m biased.) Regardless, the geographically petite island and its boroughs are brimming with cruelty-free fare that plenty of folks can get onboard with, and of late nuanced methods of spreading the edible love are cropping up in a number of neighborhoods.
May marked the launch of Suite ThreeOhSix, a vegan supper club and academy located in Manhattan’s tony TriBeCa neighborhood. The Franklin Street loft space—featuring high ceilings, columns and transparent panes of glass dividing kitchen from communal table—can accommodate up to 16 guests for intimate dinners on select Saturdays. Offering multi-course meals at a range of price points, diners don’t learn what they’ll be eating until the evening of the meal. That said, according to Chef Daphne Cheng, the brains behind the operation, response to the concept has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I’ve gotten great feedback about the food and atmosphere,” said Cheng, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, following a media mixer she organized two Tuesdays ago. “Everyone seems to love it.”
Indeed, May's preview party was packed and the five dinners since (not including a Monday evening installment featuring a guest chef) have sold out, attracting attendees (mostly omnivores, but also vegetarian and vegan) via sites like Underground Eats and How About We, among others. Word of mouth has also helped. Says Cheng, modestly, of the sustained attraction to and praise of her craft, “I’m pleasantly surprised with the enthusiasm so far.”
But it actually comes as little surprise that her innovative vision is taking off. At 24, Cheng is a force to be reckoned with, a culinary artist of the highest order. While S3O6 is shiny and new, Cheng is no newbie to the food scene. She’s impressed in the past with both her catering company, the three-year-old Vérité Catering, and Dinner With True Friends, a charitable-meets-delectable series she once hosted in her backyard garden. For the former, she counts among her clients the likes of Vera Wang, John Bartlett, Allure Magazine (for Lea Michele) and Peter Max.
Though she’s changed settings from her previous East Village digs, Cheng’s vision remains the same, even as it evolves. Fine dining with a focus on vegetables, the Chicago born-and-bred chef calls her cuisine “ethnically ambiguous, with influences from ingredients around the world and memories here and there.” She adds, “I also enjoy introducing new flavor combinations that one would not normally think would go well together.” Examples of pairings include balsamic vinegar with shaoxing wine, smoked soubise sauce with green pepper pesto, and truffled cashew and almond ricotta with smoked agave.
Something unique you’ll notice when you secure a seat is that Cheng rarely if ever resorts to serving mock meats. “The main idea,” she says, “is that vegetables, grains and fruits are delicious and satisfying in their own right, without having to fall back on imitations.” However, she qualifies this by acknowledging that there is a place for faux: “I’m not opposed to fake meat and certainly welcome any advances in the food industry, like Beyond Meat and Beyond Eggs,” two cutting edge companies that are success stories unto themselves.
Another thing you won’t encounter at Suite ThreeOhSix is any animal rights speak. Important as it is, and despite the fact that Cheng is ethically vegan, the China Study devotee says she “doesn’t like to preach, lecture or debate about it. I just like to let the food speak for itself.”
This approach seems to be working well, which proves promising, as she’s hoping to open a restaurant in the coming year. “I’m particularly interested in the NoMad, Flatiron and Chelsea areas,” says Cheng of seeking a permanent spot to dish out her tasty creations. But TriBeCa has been good to her, so she’s not ruling it out.
On the funding front, she’s gradually garnering what she needs to take the next step with the help of a few key people. “We’re looking for up to twenty investors, each investing smaller sums of money,” she says. While I’m not at liberty to disclose details, Cheng appears to be well on her way to realizing her dream of opening a restaurant by the time she’s 25. In the meantime, reserve a spot at Suite ThreeOhSix and prepare to be blown away.
Vegan Christmas Dinner Recipes: Appetisers, Sides, Desserts
Everyone loves a good Christmas dinner. After the excitement of opening presents under the tree, what could be better than taking time to relax and enjoy some delicious food with all the family? Of course, the bigger your family, the more likely you’ll be cooking for someone with special dietary requirements, but these days there are so many ‘alternative’ Christmas dinner ideas, it’s fairly simple to come up with something to please everyone.
Vegan dishes are in particularly high demand at the moment, with more and more people making the decision to cut animal products from their diet every year. Luckily, the range and quality of vegan food has improved along with demand, so whether you’re cooking for a vegan guest, or you’ve become a vegan yourself this year, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice with the array of delicious festive food on offer.
Chinese New Year secret vegan supper club
I’ve been happy to constantly have supper clubs the past few months! It’s so much fun! The latest one is for Chinese New Year! If you’re going to be in London the 22 of February, I do hope you can come! Book here.
(psssst- if you can’t come to that one, how about the Japanese 5 course meal on 9 Feb?)
Here is the menu. There is a lot, as usual:
Plum cocktail aperitif
Mains & sides:
Shiitake & Bamboo Treasure Congee
Buddha’s Delight of mixed lucky vegetables
Stir-fried lettuce, Shredded tofu skin salad, lotus root with goji berries, sesame braised aubergine, celery stir fry with peanuts, hot potato slivers, and cucumber salad.
Lucky almond cake with jujubes
Togetherness black sesame dumplings
Red bean pancake rolls
And a little holiday surprise for the guests!
So grab a friend, come hungry and experience the secret supper club craze!
Birmingham Chefs Test Appetite For New Flavors With Supper Clubs
A recent supper club in Josh Haynes' apartment in Birmingham, Ala.
It's a Saturday night. Five couples sit sipping cocktails and beers. From the kitchen, the smell of ginger, fish oil and lime wafts into the dining room. Chef Josh Haynes is there preparing one of his signature recipes: a red curry of pumpkin and pork rib.
It could be a hip restaurant, except this is Haynes' apartment. In his small living room, with space for only two tables, 10 strangers eat his homemade Thai food.
Matching Diners To Chefs, Startups Hatch Underground Supper Clubs
Haynes calls it a "speakeasy supper club," a nod to the days of Prohibition. People hear about the dinners through word of mouth or a local food blog, buy tickets online, and show up to Haynes' apartment at an appointed time.
Like many mid-size cities in the U.S., Birmingham historically has had a traditional food scene. But in the past few years, locals chefs have started concepts like ramen and vegan supper clubs in houses and apartments. Like Haynes, they're testing recipes and ideas to gauge the community's response and the market for potential restaurants.
It's Fred Rowe's first time at one of these dinners, and he's blown away.
"Where else can you get a new experience with new people, people you don't even know?" Rowe says, serving himself another one of Haynes' curries, this one made with duck eggs.
Mary Jones says she and her husband have been to several speakeasy-style dinners held by other chefs in their homes.
"We just go and try to support them so that they know that yes, there is that interest for this cuisine in Birmingham," Jones says. "It's not too out there."
Haynes moved back to Birmingham with plans of opening a Thai restaurant. But until he finds the money, he's decided to open up his apartment.
Chasing Food Dreams Across U.S., Nigerian Chef Tests Immigration System
"In the meantime, it's really important to me to kind of build a following and get a lot of support, as well as get people's feedback," Haynes says. "So that when I get to that brick-and-mortar stage and open the doors, I've got people who are excited, who are lined up ready to eat."
So far, it's working. All of Haynes' dinners have sold out.
Kelly Dobkin, a senior editor at Zagat, a guidebook to restaurants worldwide, says she's seen these types of restaurants succeed. In Brooklyn, the supper club Take Root morphed into a highly-reviewed and hard-to-get-into restaurant. Underground supper clubs are popping up across the country, from Los Angeles to Detroit and Atlanta.
Dobkin says this exchange of young chefs inviting diners for these exclusive meals is mutually beneficial.
"The chefs are getting this chance to be creative and free without a lot of strings," she says. "The diners are getting something that is limited-time only, which is really exciting."
Chris Hastings has been a chef in Birmingham for decades and has trained a lot of chefs, including Haynes. In 2012, Hastings won a James Beard Award, one of the most prestigious in the restaurant business.
Hastings says while things have changed a lot in the Birmingham restaurant scene, it's still difficult to open a restaurant — and even harder to stay open.
"The failure rate is pretty high," Hastings says. "It's a business, and it's very complicated and very expensive. Your margins are teeny-weeny, and you have to have equal parts chef and business person."
But, Hastings says, if these new chefs can get the business down, diners are ready and waiting for whatever's thrown at them.
Haynes' Thai dinners have gotten pretty popular, so he's started hosting them once a week.
Weekly Vegan Dinner Plan #1
Over the last year I have shared over 125 (and counting) extremely savory & delicious vegan recipes with you. And your response to these recipes has put me over the moon! I am constantly amazed and flattered by the positive response I hear from all of you!
Whether you are a seasoned vegan, a new vegan, or just experimenting with plant-based food, I really try to create food that will make everyone excited to eat less meat and dairy. And no matter where you fall on the vegan scale, you are always welcome at TSV!
With all of that said, I want to dive into a new chapter here at TSV that aims to get you even more excited about vegan food.
So…welcome to my first EVER Weekly Vegan Dinner Plan!
The point of these weekly dinner plans is to provide you with a compilation of 5 dinner recipes to use throughout the week.
NOTE: feel free to add additional side dishes to them as you see fit!
Each week’s plan will include a printable grocery list that will have everything you need. Print it and head to the store. Saves you time from having to jump from recipe to recipe figuring out what you need.
I will have everything broken down into 4 categories:
You will probably have most of the pantry staples on hand already, but just in case you are low on something it is there as a reminder.
Now, what if you only want to include one of the week’s recipes in your dinner rotation?
You’ll want to disregard the grocery list and just use the link to that specific recipe.
Meal plans will go live on the blog every Sunday morning.
If you’re making all 5 recipes be sure to print the grocery list at the bottom of the page.
Want to be notified every time there is a new recipe or dinner plan? Sign up for the TSV newsletter!
Want to check out past dinner plans? Head over here.
These Black Bean Green Chili Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cream Sauce are one of my most popular recipes of all time – and for good reason. They are a total crowd pleaser. Like meal prepping? Make these ahead of time and freeze. Perfect for a busy Monday!
This Sweet Potato Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing might be healthy but it is also super filling!
This Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing is one of my favorite mid-week dinners. It comes together quickly and requires more chopping than actual cooking.
Another quick meal – this Creamy Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Gnocchi takes just 20 minutes and is packed full of all kinds of tasty flavor!
And on Friday’s you must eat pizza – it is a TSV rule! If you are looking for something on the spicy side, this Vegan Potato Habanero White Pizza is going to be right up your alley!
Now that you know what we’re making this week, let’s talk ingredients.
Vegan 4-course Japanese Dinner £24
There are two more dates for the amazing 4-course Japanese Night (not gluten-free). Try dishes you can’t find in restaurants like sesame “tofu” and konnyaku takoyaki. Bring a friend and come hungry!
Tue 19 Jan: Book here
Sat 23 Jan: Book here
I use Social Belly, a London-based start up, for bookings.They are focused on making new friends over the food. How great is that? You can also find some listings on EatWith.
Homemade Vegan Backpacking Meals
We have oats nearly every single day at home. Why bother messing with a good thing while on the trail? I bought an instant oat mix from Bulk Barn that had ingredients I was pretty pleased with (oats, almonds, barley flakes, wheat flakes, flax, sunflower seeds, dried apple, millet, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and salt). To up the calories and nutrition, I added a spoonful each of soy milk powder, coconut milk powder, and powdered peanut butter. To switch up the flavours each day I added a handful of various dried fruits (blueberries, mangoes, peaches, pears, or bananas).
The oats were really easy to make each morning. Just boil a bunch of water, add it to the oats, cover and let sit for a bit, and enjoy! This breakfast kept us fueled for a solid morning of hiking.
Does anyone know what GORP actually stands for. Eh?? Good ol’ raisins and peanuts! Trail mix has come a long way since then with endless combinations of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I made 5 pre-portioned bags of trail mix for each of the days we’d be hiking. In each bag I added the following: peanuts, sunflower seeds, crispy rice, raisins, chocolate chips, and dried blueberries. It was a nice mix of sweet & salty, and crunchy & chewy.
Dehydrating & Dinners
As I mentioned above, I borrowed a friend’s dehydrator to make these homemade vegan backpacking meals. I dehydrated fruits, veggies, pasta, and beans to add to our food inventory. The fruits I added to our snack bags, & oatmeal breakfasts, but the veggies, pasta, and beans I used to make up our main meals.
This blog post from The Hippy Homemaker was a godsend! I followed the recipes for Curry Lentils, Veggie Pasta Primavera, and Black Bean Taco Mac. These three meals were hearty, tasty, and easy to make while camping.
In addition to the homemade meals, we branched out and bought some convenience pre-made foods. I picked up some 90 second quinoa & rice, and rice & lentil packets to add bulk to some meals. We also brought along a few retail meals from Alpine Adventures. We tried the Corn Chowder (with an aforementioned rice packet), and a veggie & rice burrito bowl (which we put into wraps for more calories).
You’ll notice I’ve omitted lunches. Despite all of our seemingly endless planning, we somehow overlooked the need for substantial lunches while hiking. We brought tortilla wraps with the intention of filling them with peanut butter… but we never actually bought peanut butter. D’oh!! Fortunately we had 2 extra Alpine Adventure meals that Mac could eat (they were vegetarian, but not vegan). Additionally, Mac saved the day when he casually threw together all of the leftover dehydrated pasta & beans. This random mix turned into a (not especially tasty) lunch for me. Furthermore we had exactly one protein-type bar (GoMacro) that we finished about 15 minutes before finishing the hike. Had we not had those extra meals and snacks, we definitely would have been hungry hikers.
Extra Tips // Dehydrator Thoughts
Shopping at Bulk Barn was so beneficial for this trip. It’s where I purchased the premade instant oatmeal (though that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to replicate at home, just more effort and more ingredients…), plant-based milk powders, powdered peanut butter, and trail mix supplies. I also bought dehydrated vegetables at Bulk Barn to supplement the ones I dehydrated at home.
I really enjoyed using the dehydrator in making these vegan backpacking meals. It was especially awesome for things like the pasta and beans which are harder (& more expensive) to find commercially (but it is possible! Harmony House Foods is a great option). The homemade dehydrated fruits (I did mangoes, pears, peaches, bananas, & blueberries) were also quite tasty and definitely less expensive than their retail counterparts. I wasn’t too fond of my dehydrated veggies though. I’m not sure if I just didn’t dehydrate them for long enough, but they never seemed to crisp up like I expected.
Did you know you can use your own reusable containers at Bulk Barn? Check out this blog post for all the details on how to reduce your use of plastic bags at Bulk Barn!
Dehydrating all of the aforementioned ingredients at home also took a lot of forethought. I dehydrated everything over the course of three nights (with a few things taking two nights). The pasta and beans/lentils had to be cooked first then dehydrated, so it took some careful planning.
Next time, I might branch out and try some of the pre-packaged meals that are readily available at most outdoor retailers. Many of which offer vegan & vegetarian options! Some of the more popular brands are: Backpacker’s Pantry, Good to Go, & Alpine Aire.
That being said, I loved being able to customize my own vegan backpacking meals with wholesome ingredients without needing to use preservatives. Additionally, there is a lot of plastic waste created with store-bought meals. I may have used plastic Ziplock bags for our backpacking trip, but you’d better believe that I came home and washed every single bag to reuse again. #noshame
Finally, here are a few things I learned in hindsight that I’ll definitely be thinking back to on our next camping trip:
- Bring at least an extra day’s worth of food. Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you’re like us and forget about lunches, it’ll end up being 100% worth it to bring the extra weight
- You’ll be burning a LOT of extra calories while hiking – plan your meals to be as calorically dense as possible. Try to aim for a minimum of 400-500 calories per meal (with snacks to supplement your day). Backpacking is not the time to be worried about calories or healthy/unhealthy foods. High-calorie foods include nuts, seeds, dried fruits, grains, etc.
- Homemade or pre-made energy bars are an extremely convenient way to get a quick dose of calories. Our favourites are Clif Bars, Larabars, & GoMacro Bars.
- Stay hydrated! Mac & I each used a 2L water bladder which I loved. It was so much more convenient than fiddling with a water bottle.
Tell me, what are your favourite vegan backpacking meals? Or camping/hiking foods in general? I’ve recently discovered that adding pretzels to trail mix is an absolute game changer!
“Secret” Vegan Supper Club at The Gate, Marylebone
Man alive do you know how much putting “Marylebone” in the headline is stressing me out?! I NEVER spell that forking fancy pants
neighborhood (dammit, it’s so fancy it’s gonna require the ‘u’) neighbourhood correctly so I must be feeling BRAVE to put it in the headline. I think the correct mnemonic is remembering it as Mary Le Bone like it’s a person’s unfortunate name but it still looks wrong. Omg was Mary Le Bone a real person? Is it named after her? Was she chic af? OK that’s a ramble for another time. Suffice it to say Mary’s hood is chic af and we recently (like last night) went there to dine at The Gate, London’s classic vegetarian restaurant. The Gate has been serving up quality boutique vegetarian food in London since 1989, and they’ve remained a constant, dependable, classy, delicious mid-upscale choice for us throughout the quiet veg years and now in this remarkable vegan boom.
Once a month, The Gate in Mary’s the bone hosts a “secret” vegan supper club (which is cute to call it that I guess because you can’t actually find info on their website easily but obvs it’s not secret they let me in). For £49.50, you get a decadent, beautiful 5-course meal PLUS matching wines. Five wines are included in that pretty decent price! That’s amazing if you drink/are British! I do not and am not, but I was taken care of too (more below). I believe the menu changes for every supper club event – or at least it should, because I’m gonna go
every single month as often as I can, because it was wonderful. (I’m really enjoying this strikethrough feature today. I’ll never stop I will stop.)
Out of the 5 courses, 1 was just fine, 2 were good and could easily have been great, 1 was great, and 1 was forking phenomenal, so overall I call that a win, especially because if this was all phenomenal I’d have nothing to say except EEEEE! and you all know how much I like to say things. Let’s get to the food!are these some of my best food photos? possibly! unedited as ever! you’re welcome america
First up to bat was my absolute favorite of the savory dishes, the crispy shiitake wonton: shiitake duxelle (duxelle is a fancy way of saying you prepared mushrooms with onions and garlic and herbs and then mixed it all up into a paste or an almost-paste or just finely chopped), cilantro, lime sauce, alfalfa, enoki mushrooms, and shiso. At first I was like ‘I love me some sprouts but that’s a huge pile of alfalfa’, but it was actually well balanced in the dish on the whole, because the mushroom duxelle was so rich and SO delicious that you needed to even that intensity out with literally nothing threads. I loved the little herb sauce dollops, the random enoki on top, and all the flavors together. This was the dish that was great.am I back in Mexico? next week on the blog ps!
The second dish was avocado, mango, and shimeji ceviche. Shimeji mushrooms are the little cartoon-looking fuckers pictured. I love all kinds of mushrooms (except magic ones) (don’t do drugs (THERE’S NO HOPE WITH DOPE lol remember that episode of Saved by the Bell omg it was the best with Johnny Dakota. and then actual NBC president Brandon Tartikoff did the actual PSA at the end? HILARIOUS) (also obvs I’m joking do whatever you want just don’t forking drive and DO NOT make me smell it FFS ALL MY NEIGHBORS)). This was a very refreshing, very fresh ‘ceviche’ of our three awesome stars (avocado, mango, cartoon mushrooms) covered in lime juice, chili dressing, soft cashews, and placed in leaves of chicory. As you can see, there are also some edible flowers sprinkled about which is a surefire way to please me. So fun! This was one of the dishes that was good but not great, and that’s because while the flavors were all fresh and nice, it was super limey without having the right amount of salt to bring it out in a nice and not overly sour way.
Next is another of the (very) good dishes that could so easily have been great. I really enjoyed this, but admit that a few tiny tweaks could probably make it incredible. Here we have zucchini rolls (I WILL NEVER SAY COURGETTE) (no I already do), filled with WONDROUS fava bean mousse and topped with sumac. These rolls were super delicious I would buy tubs of that mousse and eat it instead of my regular hummus rotation for several weeks if I could. It was so mild and pleasant and delicious, and the sumac was an interesting and nice touch. However, the smooth mousse was a little geriatric/soft-food-diet, and one of my dining companions said it needed something in the roll-up that was a little more substantial so he didn’t think ‘nursing home safety.’
As you can see, it’s on a bed of couscous, with mint, pistachios, and pomegranate, which was fine, basic. And then there’s a blob of green garlic yogurt on the side. The yogurt did not do it for me I left most of it where I found it. I don’t think it was necessary and it was too strong, overpowering the mousse flavor, to be worth it. I think if they adiosed that (maybe replacing with something proteiny since, as usual with vegan tasting menus, that was lacking) plus maybe added a few whole fava beans or crushed nuts or something solid-food to the mousse filling this dish would have been great.
The last of the savory dishes was the one I think was just fine. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted great, as everything did (except that yogurt glob), but it was just so ya basic, the dish vegans have been served since before people knew what vegetarian meant so now just feels uninspired and lackluster: the Mediterranean aubergine. This was a big old (nicely) grilled eggplant with Romanesco cauliflower, pieces of butternut squash, semi-dried tomato pesto (I guess because it’s not sunny enough in the UK to fully dry your maters), radishes, and a very welcome piece of baby artichoke, and some green herby sauces all over. All the components were good, especially the pesto and that artichoke (artichokes rock), but despite everything tasting good, (to paraphrase Husbo’s best restaurant review:) you’re still just an asshole eating yet another roasted pile of root veg.
BUT IT’S OK THEY MADE UP FOR IT WITH DESSERT!
The dessert was the PHUH FORKING NOMENAL dish. I mean. Wow. Guys, I think this has been added to my top five restaurant desserts of all time. OF ALL TIME! This chocolate tulip featured a lovely chocolate shell cup housing the most incredible chocolate mousse like EVER. You can see the mousse cup looks red, so I was concerned that they were trying some funny business of trying to ‘improve’ upon classic chocolate by making it chocolate-raspberry or some bullshit that we don’t need because classic chocolate is perfection, but that’s just a dusting of I’m guessing dried raspberry powder to match the lovely little bits of dried raspberry crunch on top and the real raspberries around the plate. IT WAS SO AMAZING. And even though this was amazing in its own right, that right there in green is a dollop of the MOST INCREDIBLE pistachio Chantilly cream you ever did see. I mean I’m just so grateful. This was THE BEST. You need to try this.
While my three omnivorous (they really enjoyed this!) dining companions enjoyed all the wine, I got to choose whatever soft drinks I wanted to accompany my dishes, for no added charge. I was a bit dismayed at first that the ‘soft pairing option’ they confirmed they had in the email wasn’t pre-planned, but it was nice to be able to choose my own drinks off their regular menu. I got a carrot, ginger, beet, and celery juice first, and then a ginger spritz (ginger, lemon, soda) mocktail next. They made it clear I could order more, but they brought me full-size versions so I was so full from liquid so fast, especially considering I’d gone through 3 liter carafes of water before long! And we had 5 courses to go through!
This supper club was a truly lovely experience and I was glad to be reminded of how great The Gate’s food is. Their next one is August 22, so book in now.
The Gate, “Secret” Vegan Supper Club, Marylebone, London, UK
Water speed: They brought carafes of water pretty regularly! It was good! I was so full of liquid!
Service: Very good. As usual with these sorts of events, with everyone in the room finishing at the same time, it’s a little difficult and stressful to pay at the end since everyone is trying to, and it was frustrating that the servers seemed to be cleaning up instead of seeing that we wanted to pay, but that’s my small quibble. Overall good!
Bathrooms: Three stalls in the women’s room with internal sinks, which always make me mad because when there’s a line you’re like ‘why don’t they just put the sinks outside the stalls so the line moves faster’ but this wasn’t the theatre, there was no line. So it was fine. And clean.
Food: Delicious! Overall it was really nice, and even the things that weren’t interesting were still well made and tasted great.
Bonus: I love a good supper club! I felt this was a great value for money, especially with all those drinks included. AND THAT DESSERT!
#17 Green Bean Potato Curry
This green bean potato curry by Melanie from A Virtual Vegan couldn’t be easier. It’s super budget-friendly and you need only eight ingredients. And most of all it doesn’t require any fancy or hard to find spices. It can also be made in the Instant Pot.
How to start your own supper club
O ur restaurant, The Clove Club, started out three years ago as two trestle tables in our small London flat. My friends Chris, Johnny and I were all passionate about food and wine, and wanted to create the best evening we possibly could in our own front room. We eventually turned our supper club into a business, but anyone who likes the idea of cooking good food for their friends - or even strangers – can give it a go.
Have a clear concept
You need to ask yourself: why would people want to come and eat at my supper club? The creative conundrum is trying to be different, but not just wacky for the sake of it. We decided on a set menu of four courses of classic British cooking, plus a couple of snacks for when people arrive. We were inspired by restaurants in Paris where you turn up and eat whatever the kitchen decided to cook that day. That format also meant there was no problem with food envy, we had minimal food waste and we knew exactly how much it would cost.
Mix up your guest list
Restaurants are as much about the people as they are about the food. For our first night, we invited our friends and then asked them to invite people we didn't know. We also used our website, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word more widely. Cooking for strangers in your own home is all part of the fun, and we ended up making some great new friends. People paid in advance so there was no risk of them letting us down.
Decide on your price
Work out how much your food will cost and whether you want to spend money on hiring tables, linen and cutlery or whether you will just beg and borrow. We used a company called Gorgeousgourmets.co.uk to hire most of our equipment, and they also washed our dishes. We allowed people to bring their own wine, which meant we could spend more on food and didn't get into legal issues about selling alcohol without a licence. Our dinners cost about £15 a head for food, plus whatever we were spending on everything else.
Use local, seasonal food
The best restaurants observe the British seasons with their ingredients, so go to a farmers' market to buy your veg, and get the best you can afford. We used a traditional butcher for our meat, and went to Billingsgate market for our fish. You could also try foraging – we harvested chickweed from local parks. Most chefs use The Forager's Handbook for this. The Flavour Dictionary is also great for teaching you about flavour combinations.
Transform your home
We had two trestle tables that we had hired for a fiver each and dressed with white linen, tea lights in Duralex glasses and little flower settings. We also printed name cards so everyone knew where to sit. We always wore smart white shirts and butchers' aprons – people liked that we'd made an effort.
Blag a bottle
A great tip is getting a brand on board to support your night. Contact the marketing departments for gin, vodka, whiskey and rum brands, and offer them publicity via your social media, or a couple of places at your supper club in exchange for some free stock to serve a welcome drink for your guests.
It was a very proud moment to see the looks of contentment on our guests' faces as they finished their meals and enjoyed a shot of freezing cold pear brandy. When people tell you that they were blown away by a restaurant you've created in your own home, you get an amazing sense of achievement.
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Oh wow, I’m hungry for all of these right now! Love the butternut squash sage pasta, that looks so delicious :)
Wow, look at all those eye popping veggies! My wife is starting to freak out because I don’t eat veggies all to often, in fact, I pushed the bok choy of my plate last night. But those carrot and snap peas, those look good! I’m sending her the link. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too. I mean veggies.
Excited to check a bunch of these out! Great round up!
I would buy your cookbook, just sayin.
I’m not kidding – I need to try all of these! I’m especially curious about your Curried Coconut Quinoa and Greens with Roasted Cauliflower…I’m not a huge quinoa fan however, I feel like I could get behind it in this dish! And your pesto?! Beautiful! Pinned!
Thanks, Alexa! I don’t love quinoa in every application but I think it’s pretty great with that cauliflower!
yum yum yum yum YUM! Mouth-watering, must go make one of these for dinners – sensational!
Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers
What an excellent round up! I foresee some of these wonderful dishes gracing our table soon.
As past president of Calgary Vegetarian Society I would like to complement you on your fantastic effort to provide everyone with
the information you publish on line.
We have regular meetups, eat outs and potlucks to encourage vegetarian lifestyle.
Is it possible to obtain permission to print some of your material and distribute it to our members. We have a number of members that have not accepted computer technology.
Can’t wait for your next e-mail… John
Hi John, I prefer that my recipes remain exclusive to my website, but if you’d like to email me more details about which recipes and how you’d like to distribute them, I’ll consider it! Thank you.
Oh my gosh, THANK YOU. This is such a great, visually appealing bunch of recipes. We’re in too much of a rut over here and depending a lot on frozen meat substitutes : Pinning and devouring these meals as soon as possible!
Wow, what a great round-up – I want to make all of these! :)
Oh the pictures, and the recipes! They really inspire me to make every meal as tasty and beautiful as I can. And thank you for all the work that went into the index. It is appreciated. I just keep healthy ingredients onhand, and if I’m creatively stumped for ideas I check out the index. I try not to read your posts before meals, because they make me hungry! I’m very hungry!
Thank you, Sandy! I’m so glad you appreciate it. :)
OMG! This post is exactly what I needed! Meal Plan for this week: checked. Thanks Kate.
Thanks, Carolina! Hope your week is delicious!
I love these roundups! It’s always nice to bookmark sites that have healthy, weeknight dinners in one spot! I’ve already picked out a few that are on my to-make list in the upcoming weeks. That roasted cauliflower and freekah sounds amazing, not sure how I missed that one earlier!
Thanks, Alex! The cauliflower freekeh dish is one of my favorites.
Those pastas look fantastic! Especially with the butternut squash!
Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
I need to make that hemp pesto again – it’s sooooo good!!
abby - little city adventures
Ah every single one looks so good! Pinning!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
I’m drooling over all of these, Kate! Your kale salads are always the best and I’m going through a crazy roasted cauliflower craze right now so these are calling my name!
I’ve bookmarked this post – every single recipe looks so good! I’ve been indulging a bit too much over the past couple of weeks (so much for New Year’s resolutions), and I always feel a bit lighter after sticking to healthy vegan meals for a while – so I might have to give a few of these recipes a try!
What a great assortment of recipes, I needed something good to make for dinner tonight and it was difficult to decide. I fixed #13 as I had all the ingredients on hand (well, barley was the grain as I have never seen the one listed) and all of us would have liked bigger servings, it was so good. This makes two weeks in a row that I have brought home a big cauliflower from the farmer’s market to make a new soup recipe and before that can happen it is cooked up in something else that catches my eye. There is always next week to try again. I think #10 or #16 will be next. Thanks!
Barley sounds like a great substitute! Glad you all loved it, hope you enjoy the others just as much!
Such a great collection of recipes! I’m not vegan, but all of these look amazing. I have been eyeing that West African Peanut Soup for quite some time now and I think it is about time that I finally make it!
These look and sound amazing, yum! I am going to attempt a vegetarian diet for a month and these are definitely going to help, thanks!
Perfect! All of my recipes are meatless, so you are in the right place!
These recipe choices looks so delicious, tasty and healthy.
Yay yay yay! I love these round up posts with the user comments – so bright, delicious and perfect for sifting through on hot summer nights when I just want something fresh and healthy (like, uh, all the time right now!). I’ve tried the black bean burrito bowls a couple of times, with the green rice too – so yum!! Can’t wait to get stuck in to a couple more options. Thanks lovely, as always I’m leaving your site inspired xxx
So excited about all these recipes. Just discovered your blog and am already a fan.
What a wonderful line up of meals – they really look stunning – so healthy and so delicious – this makes meal planning SO much easier – thank you!
Kate, all of these recipes look amazing – can’t wait to try! My sister and I are both huge fans of your site. One thing I struggle with, though, is that I’m single and cooking for one and can’t quite finish a dish entirely on my own before it expires. Also, I like to change things up after a night or two, which means I’ve got a whole lot of wasted dishes by the end of the week! I’d love to hear any tips or strategies you have for cooking for one do you freeze the unfinished portions? Make smaller portions of a recipe? Thanks so much!
Hey Anna! So glad to hear you both enjoy my blog. I 100% know your frustration! I have a fridge overflowing with leftovers right now. I’m not perfect, but yes, I do often freeze extra portions. Soups and stews usually freeze well and it’s nice to have extra in the freezer. Sometimes I play with leftovers by turning, say, a bean salad into burrito or quesadilla filling, put it on some greens, etc. I really need to start having the foresight to halve recipes, too—that would solve a lot of problems! Hope these ideas help.
I just discovered your blog and all these recipes look absolutely amazing! My husband & I are both meat eaters, but I’m always tempted by a truly yummy-looking vegetarian/vegan recipe – a few have even earned a place on the coveted “when are you making this again?” list. Especially after a month full of celebrations, holidays, birthdays and the like, I’m so giving some of these a try pretty soon!
Only problem is, where I live (Greece) most of those ingredients which are crucial to vegan cooking are really expensive, not to mention hard to find. Quinoa has just recently been appearing in local supermarket stores but is still at 6 times the price of rice. Same goes for coconut milk, sweet potatoes, even avocados are quite expensive here. Flaxseed, chia seeds etc are only sold in bio product stores, in pretty high prices too. It’s like, if you wanna be healthy, pay up! Oh, and we don’t have kale at all, only spinach. :P Still, I’m going to find a way around this if something is as delicious as those above look!
Thanks for saying hello! I’m sorry some of my go-to ingredients are so pricy over there. You might have to sift through some recipes but I think you’ll find plenty that don’t call for obscure ingredients! I don’t use a ton of quinoa, flaxseed or chia. You can do it! :)
Great recipe overview, there are definately a couple I want to try although I am not per se vegan, I just simply love vegetables a lot!
I’m glad I just discovered your blog, it is very inspirational and I adore your photos as they really bring your dishes to life.
Thanks for the great list of veggie recipes. I’ve been trying to make one day a week meat-less and this really helps. They look so delicious!
Just discovered your site…will make something from your list today! I am salivating already.☺️
Welcome, Carol! Hope you love the recipes.
Just discovered your site and made the curried cauliflower soup. It’ very good! my husband even took some to share with his 103 year old mother. He rarely shares my vegan recipes with her, so that is a real endorsement.☺️I only used 1 tablespoon of the curry paste to cut down on the heat and salt. Still flavorful.
Thank you for saying hello, Carol! Glad you found my site and delighted to hear that you all enjoyed the soup!
I think I’m in love with that quinoa and cauliflower recipe! We’ve been trying to go more vegan in our household: food and skin care and I’m not even sure what else is unexpectedly not vegan.
Another great list! I’m not a great cook… but the crockpot I can totally handle! Very excited to try the Curried Coconut Quinoa and Greens with Roasted Cauliflower
Yoo, steak is the best. The juicy, mouthwatering, tast- oh wait… Sorry looooool lool
Oh yah man I love biting into that juicy freshly barbecued perfection
Thank You for sharing your recipes. I am a personal chef and am always looking for new delicious reipes!
Thank you, Christine! Glad to hear you’ve found inspiration here. :)
Have used a lot of your vegan recipes, love them. Want to try more!
You are killing me with all your recipes! Wanna try all NOW!
Wow! These all look so amazing, I’ve been told by the hospital recently I need to eat vegan recipes and what I just found looks like heaven. Thank you so much!
Oh, I’m so glad, Darcy! I hope you enjoy making these. Best of luck with your health.
These look amazing especially the recipes with roasted cauli! Love your blog!
YES the roasted cauliflower is one of my favorites. I hope you try some, Anna!
I like what I can see regarding the vegan recipes … but your Ads on your pages are SO intense that its locking up my browser just being on your site and I’ve tried rebooting and coming back. I would have liked to have read more but … …
Hi, Jim. Sorry about that! Can you tell me which browser you’re using?
OK Kate, great to see you are also a dog lover! I honestly want to eat ALL of these recipes. thank you for sharing them! some of them are a bit complicated for me lazy bum but they look really delicious!